New Math Speeds the Search for Protein Structures

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Science  02 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5386, pp. 30-31
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5386.30

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Two new algorithms are offering a way to look at a single high-resolution x-ray snapshot of a crystal and reconstruct in one gulp how its many atoms are positioned. The basic approach, called direct methods, has been around for decades, but large molecules defeated it in the past. At the annual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association, however, researchers reported that the new programs are already helping to unravel full-sized protein structures, and in a matter of days as opposed to years.