Analysis of blots 'n gels - the public domain way

sofer at mbcl.rutgers.edu sofer at mbcl.rutgers.edu
Wed Dec 12 15:54:35 EST 1990

In article <9012121602.AA08227 at genbank.bio.net>
>There are two other viable alternatives in the public domain world that allow
>for reading/alysis of scanned gels, blots or TLC type plates.
>       ...
>        The other is Wayne Rasband's NIH IMAGE program.  It does lots of wild
>things interms of image acquisition, cleanup, and amalysis.  Very easy to
>quantitate  a strip on a gel or chromatogram and then stick the results
>directly into a paper.  The latest version is available via anonymous FTP from
>alw.nih.gov in the directory /pub/image.
>        Both of these are Macintosh based applications.
>Wayne Kauffman

I want to strongly endorse and amplify these remarks. Image (1.33 is the
current incarnation) is a wonderful program for analysis of gray scale pictures
of all sorts. We use it for densitometric quantitation of histochemically
stained cellulose acetate gels and for quantitating ethidium bromide stained
agarose gels (photographic polaroid negatives). It will undoubtedly work for
analysis of Southerns, Northerns and Westerns, and might even prove useful for
obtaining data from sequencing gels. 

Instead of a scanner, we use a TV camera, an image capture board in a Mac II,
and a good light box (Image can actually control the capture board). In this
system we can vary the magnification and light intensity and capture images in
real time. Densitometric quantitation is particularly impressive because the
program allows one to take a known grey scale output (using a Kodak step tablet
negative for example) and map this to the output of the camera that you are
using. Wayne has also worked out a very neat way of subtracting backgrounds.

The program also can adjust contrast, cut and paste gel lanes, do false
coloring for detection of faint bands, and turn negatives into positives (and
vice versa), among other things. It comes with a well written and illustrated
manual, and Wayne supplies source code (Pascal). All this for free. To my mind,
Wayne deserves the plaudits of the biological community for this fine effort.

Bill Sofer

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