_ MacBio.Info _

Turn your Mac into a bioinformatics workstation without tearing your hair out!

Welcome to the pre-release version of MacBio.Info, a bioinformatics resource for Macintosh users. Our goal is to help biologists turn their Macs into powerful bioinformatics workstations, with the minimum of obscure jargon, esoteric instructions or hair pulling!

Where possible, we will do this by pointing to the hard work of many others who have made software available for Mac OS X, adding only some instructions and context to make it easy to select, install, and get started using these tools. We also aim to conduct forums for Mac bioinformatics users to help point out and fill gaps in Mac bioinformatics functions, and to offer community support.

Why the Mac?

Most 'serious' bioinformatics applications are written for Unix. Since Mac OS X is based on Unix, it is relatively easy to transform ('port') most Unix applications to the Mac. That gives the opportunity to run heavy duty applications on your very own desktop machine, and even take them on the road on a Powerbook laptop.

Unix, unlike the Mac, is renowned for user-unfriendliness, obscure commands, and text (rather than graphic) driven programs. So, many Unix programs look a bit ugly on the Mac, and many assume a lot of technical expertise to install and run them. MacBio.Info aims to cut out some of that difficulty by holding your hand if you don't feel expert enough to everything from scratch.

A draft layout

The following in part is a working draft of how we want the site to be, and in part is a quick-and-dirty catalog of bioinformatics sources for the Mac. Even at this stage, it is one of the better resources for Mac bioinformatics programs, but we aim to make it much much better and more user- and task-oriented: what you need to do to do you work, not what programs are availalble from where.

General Resources

Specific Packages

Sequence database searches

Tools like Blast, FastA and Blat to search a query sequence against a database of sequences.

Multiple Sequence Alignment

Aligning a family of sequences and derivatives of that - motif-finding, HMMs, phylogenetic trees

DNA sequencing tools

Practical tools to manage data from DNA sequencers

Molecular Biology packages

General packages, mostly commercial, to do lab-scale molecular biology - mapping vectors, restriction digests, simple protein analyses etc.

Expression profiling

Tools to look at microarray and other gene expression data.