TOOLS: There Goes the (Genetic) Neighborhood

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Science  19 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5776, pp. 977
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5776.977d

Researchers use linkage analysis to map disease-causing genes, but calculations that involve complicated human pedigrees often stump the average computer. Superlink Online from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa overcomes this limitation by farming out the number-crunching to a network of some 2700 PCs, which tackle the calculations during their spare time. Described online in the American Journal of Human Genetics this month, the site computes the likelihood that genes lie within a particular chromosome neighborhood and can handle larger pedigrees than other linkage software. After obtaining a free password, users feed their own data into the program. They can also add their machines to the network.

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