November 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 20)

URL:
http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/molkit/index.html

Rating:
Strong Points: Free, cross-platform tools
Weak Points: Lacking in several areas

Summary:
Looking for some free, platform-independent online tools for analyzing nucleic acid and protein sequence data? Who isn’t? I’m happy to report on the Molecular Toolkit, which I recently discovered. Hosted at Colorado State University, the Molecular Toolkit is a collection of programs written in Java 1.0 that performs simple analyses. They include Dot Plots (analyze similarities of sequences in a matrix), Manipulate/Display (inverse, complement, inverse complement, etc.), Restriction Maps, Translate, Reverse Translate, Protein Composition (summarize amino acid composition), and Hydrophobicity Plots. If you’re like me, that listing probably left you wanting at least a bit more (beggars really can be picky). Functions such as BLAST or Entrez searches are provided as links to other sites. Other links such as to Pedro’s Biomolecular Research Tools are terribly outdated. If your needs are simple, Molecular Toolkit will work for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

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