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Automated literature search tool for biology researchers released

Agilent Technologies released an automated literature search tool for the multidisciplinary study of biological systems. The tool is available as a free plug-in to Cytoscape 2.1, an open-source bioinformatics platform that enables researchers to form a visual map of complex biological networks, increasing their understanding of molecular pathways and the biological causes of disease.

The Agilent Literature Search tool automatically searches for and extracts information from multiple textual databases, such as those of the U.S. Patent Office and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (PubMed). The plug-in pulls information from these sources and represents it within Cytoscape as a map of the relationships between the biological entities, such as genes and proteins. A microarray or an LC/MS-proteomics experiment can typically result in hundreds of genes and proteins of interest. Biologists can use the new plug-in to avoid the daunting task of manually searching for each gene and protein in the scientific literature and patents.

With the Agilent Literature Search tool, researchers enter the names of all genes of interest, along with keywords that describe the types of relationships being looked for. The plug-in searches accessible databases and generates a computational representation of gene/protein associations grouped into a network that biologists can see and manipulate within Cytoscape. This network view includes a node represented by a geometric shape for each gene and protein, and links to indicate relationships. Each node includes hyperlinks to descriptions and articles relevant to that gene or protein.

Agilent Laboratories is using the plug-in as part of its collaborations with two other organizations on systems biology projects: the Stanford University School of Medicine on auto-immune diabetes; and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) on melanoma, autism and pancreatic cancer. Labs researchers are focusing on proteomics and metabolomics for these diseases as a complement to Labs collaborators' work in genomics. Using Labs' systems biology informatics prototypes, Labs researchers have built qualitative biological models based on experimental data, scientific knowledge from published papers and curated biological network databases. This shared, multi-disciplinary knowledge provides a more comprehensive view of disease.

Cytoscape 2.1 is free open-source software. The Agilent Literature Search tool is currently available as a free but unsupported plug-in to Cytoscape.

—> Cytoscape

Quelle: Agilent Technologies

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