If you’re a Mac using biomedical researcher, you may be very interested in some news from Apple. The company today announced the release of Apple/Genentech BLAST. It’s an implementation of the popular bioinformatics tools from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and Apple said it’s up to five times faster than the standard BLAST implementation. Apple/Genentech BLAST also improves accuracy over the standard NCBI BLAST, depending on search parameters.
Apple reported that for certain common searches, Apple/Genentech BLAST turned in results five times faster than a Windows-based system running NCBI BLAST. The tests were performed with a dual 1GHz Power Mac G4 and a 2GHz Pentium 4-based system, respectively.
Genentech senior VP of researcher Richard H. Scheller, Ph.D., said that his company was pleased to collaborate with Apple on their joint implementation of BLAST. “The Apple/Genentech BLAST will allow researchers to more efficiently utilize genomic information in basic biomedical research and drug discovery,” said Scheller.
The project was developed by Apple’s Advanced Computation Group (ACG), Genentech, Inc., and the Stanford University Genetics Department. The new version of blast sports algorithmic improvements and advanced memory management, and puts some features of the PowerPC G4 processor to good use, such as Velocity Engine and the chips’ ability to perform multiple operations per clock cycle.
Distributed as open source, Apple/Genentech BLAST is free to use. Visit
Apple’s Web site
to download the application or source code.