ACCESSING COMPUTER SOFTWARE FOR MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
More and more, computer applications are becoming a necessary adjunct to molecular biological research. Unlike a few years ago when research software was awkward, highly specialized, and limited to a few operating systems, today it is relevant. easy to use, and readily available for DOS, MAC. VAX, and UNIX machines. Part of the impetus to develop newer and more effective programs has come from the rapid accumulation of nucleic acid and protein sequence data with the accompanying need to analyze this information. Now there is an array of programs that extend from multipurpose packages to "stand-alone", single task applications. Most but not all of the multifaceted programs are commercial products that are designed for thorough sequence analyses of nucleic acids and proteins. including restriction enzyme site analysis, open reading frame determination, reverse translation, codon usage determination, multiple alignments, sequence editing, publication-ready graphics, hydropathy plots, searches of sequence databases for similar sequences, etc. These packages range in features and price from about $200 (US) to $3500 (US) and are designed to operate for the most part with personal computers, although comprehensive programs for mainframe computers are also available.