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BMC Mol Biol. 2007 Sep 17;8:77.

PlasmaDNA: a free, cross-platform plasmid manipulation program for molecular biology laboratories.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



Most molecular biology experiments, and the techniques associated with this field of study, involve a great deal of engineering in the form of molecular cloning. Like all forms of engineering, perfect information about the starting material is crucial for successful completion of design and strategies.


We have generated a program that allows complete in silico simulation of the cloning experiment. Starting with a primary DNA sequence, PlasmaDNA looks for restriction sites, open reading frames, primer annealing sequences, and various common domains. The databases are easily expandable by the user to fit his most common cloning needs. PlasmaDNA can manage and graphically represent multiple sequences at the same time, and keeps in memory the overhangs at the end of the sequences if any. This means that it is possible to virtually digest fragments, to add the digestion products to the project, and to ligate together fragments with compatible ends to generate the new sequences. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) fragments can also be virtually generated using the primer database, automatically adding to the fragments any 5' extra sequences present in the primers.


PlasmaDNA is a program available both on Windows and Apple operating systems, designed to facilitate molecular cloning experiments by building a visual map of the DNA. It then allows the complete planning and simulation of the cloning experiment. It also automatically updates the new sequences generated in the process, which is an important help in practice. The capacity to maintain multiple sequences in the same file can also be used to archive the various steps and strategies involved in the cloning of each construct. The program is freely available for download without charge or restriction.

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