October 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 17)
Strong Points: Many search parameters, large collection of pathways
Weak Points: Many of the links under “tools” don’t work (are in development?)
If ever there was a poster child for the motivational phrases, “Dream big” and “Set your sights high,” then MetaCyc would be it. With a goal of “cataloging the universe of metabolism by storing a representative sample of each experimentally elucidated pathway,” the people behind MetaCyc certainly have their work cut out for them. The website is well on its way, though, with more than 1,500 pathways from more than 1,900 organisms. The data contained within MetaCyc is derived from external databases, reviews, and primary literature, and it is explored through a number of search parameters. Visitors can search by compound, genes/proteins/RNAs, reactions, pathways, and ontologies, and within each of those categories, there are many additional search filters. There are ample help resources on the site (which is always helpful) including a link to the wonderful BioCyc Glossary.