Quick Questions: Molecular Biology Software Tools

Trond Erik Vee Aune teva at online.no
Sat Jun 9 11:11:38 EST 2001

zerohourx at yahoo.com wrote:
> Quick Questions: Molecular Biology Software Tools
> I am quite new to the molecular biology realm.  In fact I'm a computer
> science student in Toronto.  I've kindled an interest in the
> bioinformatics field and at present am wolfing down as much
> information about biochemistry and molecular biology as I can
> including information gathering of the actively used software tools in
> the industry.  I've already done some volunteer work for microarraying
> (created a microarray plate editor software tool) but I'm still
> unclear as to the answers to a few questions.  I find this field
> tremendously exciting and would like to provide needed software tools
> that better meet the researcher's needs.
> 1.  From what you've heard, experienced, or feel please tell me the 5
> most popular "commercial" computer software tools used within
> molecular biology.    If it's possible can you provide the price for
> each product.

For cloning of genes I'd say Clone Manager is pretty popular. It's a
sci-ed product:

Image analyzers is also used a lot. My lab use Quantity One, but I'm not
pleased with this software.

> 2.  What are the 5 most popular "freeware" computer software tools
> used within molecular biology?

Any text-editor for handling sequence data.

> 3.  What complaints do you have with the commercial and/or freeware
> computer software tools?

The commercial ones are too expensive. I'd like better and cheaper
products, and I guess they'll come when:

a) geneticists start understanding and using computer software tools
b) the demand for such products gets higher

A lot of lab equipment is also quite rare and the software is coded for
each installation. We are currently putting together a large automatic
screening laboratory which will include hardware from many different
companies. The big problem will probably be to code the software which
will let all these different parts able to communicate with eachother. 

> 4.  What operating system (OS) would researchers "prefer" to use their
> software tools on: Unix/Linux, Mac,  or Windows?

Probably Mac or Windows. Most molecular 
biologists aren't wery adept at computer technology. But the new
generation will probably demand better software and also software for
more obscure platforms.

Trond Erik Vee Aune

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