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Pathway Tools Software

Pathway Tools Software

Pathway Tools is a comprehensive symbolic systems biology software system that supports several use cases in bioinformatics and systems biology:

  • Development of organism-specific databases (also called model-organism databases) that integrate many bioinformatics datatypes, from genomes to pathways.

  • Development of metabolic-flux models using flux-balance analysis.

  • Scientific Visualization, web publishing, and dissemination of those organism-specific databases, including:
    • Automatic display of metabolic pathways and full metabolic networks
    • A genome browser
    • Display of operons, regulons, and full transcriptional regulatory networks

  • Visual analysis of omics datasets, such as painting omics data onto diagrams of the full metabolic network, full regulatory network, and full genome.

  • Computational inferences including prediction of metabolic pathways, prediction of metabolic pathway hole fillers, and prediction of operons, that can be used for genome analysis.

  • Comparative analyses of organism-specific databases.

  • Analysis of biological networks:
    • Interactively tracing metabolites through the metabolic network
    • Finding dead-end metabolites in metabolic networks
    • Identifying choke points (potential drug targets) in metabolic networks

Pathway Tools has four components:

  • PathoLogic: Creates a new PGDB containing the predicted metabolic pathways of an organism, given a Genbank entry as input.
  • Pathway/Genome Navigator: Supports query, visualization, and analysis of PGDBs. The Navigator powers the BioCyc web site at BioCyc.org.
  • MetaFlux: Supports development of metabolic flux models.
  • Pathway/Genome Editors: Provide interactive editing capabilities for PGDBs.
Please see the Pathway Tools Overview document for more details on the capabilities of the software.

Pathway Tools was developed by Peter D. Karp and coworkers at the Bioinformatics Research Group at SRI International.

Pathway Tools Publications

Contributions to Pathway Tools

We solicit contributions of new functionality to Pathway Tools. This is by no means an exclusive list, but rather a set of ideas for what might be contributed. Contributions can be integrated directly into the Pathway Tools build at SRI, or can be distributed separately by their authors for loading into Pathway Tools. Pathway Tools source code is available. Interested? Contact .

  • Interface bioinformatics prediction algorithms to Pathway Tools so that predictions made by these tools can be integrated into a PGDB. Example predictors could include predictors of protein cellular location, or of regulatory elements.

  • Contribute new comparative capabilities to Pathway Tools.

  • Contribute metabolic engineering capabilities to Pathway Tools.

Past Contributors

We gratefully acknowledge the following contributions:
  • Development of the PerlCyc Perl API to Pathway Tools by Lukas Mueller of Boyce Thompson Institute

  • Development of the JavaCyc Java API to Pathway Tools by the TAIR project

  • Development of the RCyc API for the R Project by Tomer Altman of Stanford University

  • Development of the SBML output module by Jeremy Zucker of the Broad Institute

Pathway Tools User Group Meetings

Additional Pathway Tools Information

Pathway Tools Availability

Pathway Tools is freely available to academics for research purposes, and is available for a fee to commercial institutions. Click here for download and license information.

Contact Us

To report software bugs or for other questions, please contact us at .

Subscribe to the Pathway Tools Mailing List:
Mailing list members receive periodic news and updates about Pathway Tools, such as announcements regarding new releases of the software and databases. The mail volume tends to be less than 1 announcement per month.

To subscribe to the Pathway Tools mailing list, send an email to with the word subscribe in the Subject.

To unsubscribe, send an email to with the word unsubscribe in the Subject.

Funding Sources

The development of Pathway Tools is funded by grants GM077678, GM080746, and GM75742 from the National Institutes of Health.


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