>We are trying to decide between PC and Macintosh software. Our lab technician
>is keen on GeneWorks and MacVector, but the people in our lab who actually
>DO molecular biology and will use the system are PC users.
>Is there software on the PC to do the above, for a comparable price?
All the functions you mention can be done on PCs. The advantage of the mac
programs is that they have point-and-click interfaces (there aren't any
commercial sequence analysis packages that use Windows on the PC as yet).
It would probably be simpler for PC users to learn the mac versions than
the other way around. If the main users want PCs, get them (but make sure
they are speaking out of experience).
A (gruesome) alternative that actually works quite well is to get a
high-powered mac and either buy the 386 card from Oraange micro or the
SoftPC software. Both are extremely compatible (we haven't had any compatibility
problems; you can use PC software to reset the mac's clock, for example)
but the 386 card is just as fast as a standalone 386, while the software
product is slower. If you were going to run GeneWorks you would need
AT LEAST a macII SI, and a Quadra would be better. MacVector runs on
everything from a MacSE up.
One thing that MacVector has that commercial pc products don't is an
extremely powerful editor for multiple sequence alignment, combined with
alignment algorithms and evolutionary tree-building software. If you are
considering this type of work, the mac programs (GeneWorks does this as
well) may be a better bet.
If you are pressed for cash, the PCs may be best. As long as you don't mind
the interface, you can get more hardware bang for your buck with a PC.