May 1, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 9)
Strong Points: Clear, simply displayed RNA structures
Weak Points: No browse option
The iPARS app, based off of a Parallel Analysis of RNA Structure (PARS) experiment published in 2010, plans to woo users with RNA. As the introduction page explains, “If you are a molecular biologist, you can use this application to access the structural profiles of over 3,000 yeast transcripts. If you’re not, don’t worry—this app will turn you into one…” The app provides a FAQ page to initiate the RNA neophyte, answering questions such as “What is RNA?” The “featured page” highlights approximately a dozen RNAs. Upon selecting one, users can select the “structure” button to explore the RNA structure at the nucleotide level. One limitation of the app is that, aside from the featured RNAs, there is no way to browse the contained structures; rather, a search feature is available.