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Software & Online Tools

How Does BLAST Work?

More than a pun on the explosive growth of sequencing data, BLAST makes annotation and comparisons of similar sequences much easier. Created by a group at the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information in 1991, the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool is arguably the most heavily used tool for sequence analysis (that’s available for free,…

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5 More iOS Apps for Scientists

Recently we’ve seen some great apps (here and here) that can be added to a scientist’s iPhone/iPad toolbox. In this next installment of iOS Apps for Scientists, let’s take a look at 5 free apps, including a couple which bring dozens of useful references under one “umbrella”, some tools to use while in the lab…

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14 Android Apps for Scientists

If you regularly use an Android device, then you might be curious to learn about some useful apps for scientists. Make the most of your smartphone or tablet with these 14 interesting (and free!) apps: 1. LabTimer, by GrayWolf Mobile Carrying a big, bulky timer around campus (and scavenging the lab for fresh button batteries!)…

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4 Great Websites for Bench Scientists

Friends and colleagues are excellent sources of scientific information. The Internet is too, because it is a virtual library at your fingertips. If you are looking for a great solution to a common problem (i.e. how to eliminate RNAse contamination in a laboratory), the information is waiting for you. For help with more difficult problems…

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Where Did Bio Begin For You?

Where did bio begin for you? That intriguing question has been the central focus of an interesting experience I just had. How this all started It began on a Saturday morning. After I woke up and fed my cat, and before making my own breakfast, I went straight to my computer to check which emails…

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Hot Stuff at Addgene

Addgene, the non-profit plasmid repository, turned 5-years-old this year. That’s five years longer than some of the scientists Addgene first approached to deposit plasmids thought we would last (I can say “we” because I’m a Senior Scientist at Addgene). Not only have we lasted, but we’ve thrived. Addgene recently stored its 10,000th plasmid, and our…

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Bio-Software for Linux

After Peter’s Introduction to Linux, those of you brave enough to accept the challenge will now have Linux installed on your machine so today I want to highlight to you some of the wonderful free software that is available for biologists using Linux. Before I start, I should mention that virtually all tools of modern…

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Join Our Twitter Experiment

I have watched, with some bemusement, as the internet phenomenon that is Twitter has grown and grown, then grown some more. I say bemusement because it didn’t really make much sense to me. But millions of internet users can’t be wrong (ok, I know they can be) so I decided to take a look myself.…

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10 More Firefox Add-ons for Scientists

Way back in October 2007, I wrote an article on 10 Firefox add-ons for cell and molecular biologists. I think Firefox is a brilliant browser and it’s open source add-on contributors make it more useful every day. Apparently, Bitesize Bio readers agree because that Firefox article has remained firmly established in our top 10 most…

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Super-Easy Mind Mapping

I’ve talked about the benefits of mind-mapping before. It’s a fantastic technique for note-taking, brainstorming and organising your thoughts. I am a big fan of using mind-mapping software, as opposed to paper, to construct mind maps because, for me, the paper versions quickly get unwieldy and messy. FreeMind has been my software of choice for…

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