What Can RasMol Do?

RasMol can display all or any part(s) of a molecule or molecular complex for which an atomic coordinate file is available. The display can be magnified to any degree desired. RasMol can rotate the displayed image which is very effective at conveying the 3-dimensional structure. RasMol can display the image in stereo. Different parts of the structure can be colored in any way desired to convey structural information, and can be labeled.

RasMol can report information about atoms pointed to with the mouse, including the atom's name, and the residue and macromolecular chain in which it resides; also bond distances and angles.

RasMol can represent structures in many ways, including stick models, ball and stick models, backbone traces, spacefilling models, cartoons, ribbons, or strands. Different representations can be combined in one image. More details about what RasMol can do are in the technical introduction.

What Can't RasMol Do?

RasMol cannot move two molecules, or two parts of a molecular complex, relative to each other. All RasMol movements move the entire structure represented in the data file. For example, RasMol cannot show the binding of a substrate to, or its release from, an enzyme. (MAGE is a program which can do relative movements.)

Berkeley-enhanced RasMol can move several molecules relative to each other. Beware, however, that it contains some serious bugs. Best not to use it routinely in place of standard RasMol.

RasMol cannot generate new molecular structures or modify old ones. It displays only the fixed structural data in atomic coordinate files, one file at a time.

This page is maintained by emartz@microbio.umass.edu