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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 90s.

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, RasMol is licensed under a dual license (GPL or custom license RASLIC[1]). Thus, RasMol is (along with Molekel, Jmol and PyMOL), among the few open source molecular visualization programs available.

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

Protein Databank (PDB) files can be downloaded for visualization from the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) bank. These have been uploaded by researchers who have characterized the structure of molecules usually by X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy.

Inter-process Communication

On UNIX platforms Rasmol can communicate with other programs via TCL/TK. Under MS-Windows, Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is used.

  • multiple alignment program. The responsible Java class can be freely used in other applications.

See also

Free software Portal
  • Rasmol scripts also run on Jmol
  • Rasmol scripts can be read using Sirius
  • MDL Chime


  1. ^ RASLIC license
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "RasMol". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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