EDUCATION: The Crystallographer's Companion

Science  02 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5680, pp. 23c
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5680.23c

This tutorial offers aid to crystallographers who have gathered their data but aren't sure what to do next. To guide researchers from raw numbers to a molecular structure, the 4-year-old site from Michael Sawaya of the University of California, Los Angeles, provides tips on everything from choosing and using software to performing lab procedures. For example, crystallographers often embed heavy atoms such as uranium or mercury in a protein to help clarify the molecule's architecture. The site can help readers select the right atom and explains the technique for getting it in place, including safety guidelines for working with the dangerous substances. Another section lays out the pros and cons of different graphics software for displaying results. All but one of the programs Sawaya discusses are available free on the Web.∼sawaya/tutorials/tutorials.html

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