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Example of rendering by RasMol. TRAF2 trimer PDB:1DOA
Original author(s) Roger A. Sayle
Developer(s) Herbert J. Bernstein
Stable release / July 17, 2009; 7 years ago (2009-07-17)
Written in C
Type Molecular graphics
License GNU General Public License
Website www.rasmol.org

RasMol is a computer program written for molecular graphics visualization intended and used primarily for the depiction and exploration of biological macromolecule structures, such as those found in the Protein Data Bank. It was originally developed by Roger Sayle in the early 1990s.[1]

Historically, it was an important tool for molecular biologists since the extremely optimized program allowed the software to run on (then) modestly powerful personal computers. Before RasMol, visualization software ran on graphics workstations that, due to their expense, were less accessible to scholars. RasMol has become an important educational tool as well as continuing to be an important tool for research in structural biology.

RasMol has a complex version history. Starting with the series of 2.7 versions,[2] RasMol is licensed under a dual license (GPL or custom license RASLIC[3]).

RasMol includes a language (for selecting certain protein chains, or changing colors etc.). Jmol and Sirius has incorporated the RasMol scripting language into its commands.

Protein Databank (PDB) files can be downloaded for visualization from members of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB). These have been uploaded by researchers who have characterized the structure of molecules usually by X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy or electron microscopy.

Inter-process Communication[edit]

On UNIX platforms Rasmol can communicate with other programs via Tcl/Tk. Under Microsoft Windows, Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is used.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roger Sayle and E. James Milner-White. "RasMol: Biomolecular graphics for all", Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TIBS), September 1995, Vol. 20, No. 9, p. 374
  2. ^ Herbert J. Bernstein, "Recent changes to RasMol, recombining the variants, Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TIBS), September 2000, Vol. 25, No. 9, pp. 453-455
  3. ^ RASLIC license

External links[edit]