NIST now offers crystallographers a way to let their computers do the work with a database of crystal structures
WASHINGTON - Ask a biologist about crystallization - the process of precipitating crystals out of solution - and you're apt to hear it described as a black art requiring patience and a special touch. But a databank that became available last month is expected to make the process more efficient, less time-consuming, and perhaps one day even less magical.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is selling the databank, the brainchild of NIST fellow Gary Gilliland, as a software program that anyone with a personal computer can use. The unique product is the first standard reference data set on biotechnology that's available from the institute.

Load it up and it will give you crystal data and crystallization conditions for more than 1,000 crystal forms of 600 biological macromolecules. By...

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