April 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 8)


Strong Points: Many search options
Weak Points: Some searches yield fewer results than expected


The term “robot” certainly carries the implication of making life easier for us flesh-and-blood types. They could clean our houses, walk our dogs, do…well, whatever it is you don’t want to! Along these lines, scientists will be thrilled with Chilibot. This “bot” (OK, it’s really just specialized search software) finds relationships between proteins, genes, or whatever other search terms you’d like by mining PubMed. For instance, the website gives the example of providing the terms “cocaine” and “plasticity” to identify the relationships between genes affected by cocaine treatment. Beyond the various search options, there is also a feature that generates hypotheses—that is, it will suggest possible gene relationships based on shared interactions within a larger gene network. (Although honestly, who wants to relinquish the joy of hypothesizing to some computer algorithm?)

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