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User-Friendly Software Makes Molecular Modeling A Virtual Reality

Modeling A Virtual Reality Researchers who work with biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids often design and perform experiments on "invisible" substances. Unlike organismal or cell biologists, who can view specimens through microscopes, scientists who investigate properties of macromolecules can't see the material they study. But how do molecular biologists who investigate DNA, for example, routinely make inferences based on a three-dimensional structure that has never really been see

Holly Ahern

Modeling A Virtual Reality Researchers who work with biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids often design and perform experiments on "invisible" substances. Unlike organismal or cell biologists, who can view specimens through microscopes, scientists who investigate properties of macromolecules can't see the material they study. But how do molecular biologists who investigate DNA, for example, routinely make inferences based on a three-dimensional structure that has never really been seen?

CAChe AS CAChe CAN: CAChe WorkSystesm, left, is a graphical user interface. Personal CAChe, below, is a series of applications for visualizing molecular structures.
To make these seemingly invisible molecules visible, scientists rely on computers to re-create structures in all their three-dimensional glory. User-friendly molecular modeling systems make it possible for almost anyone with an interest in chemical structures to create virtual-reality versions of molecules. This includes life scientists investigating topics such as protein structure/function relationships or signal transduction, as...

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