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Biotechniques. 2003 Dec;35(6):1216-21.

Oligo Design: a computer program for development of probes for oligonucleotide microarrays.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.


Oligonucleotide microarrays have demonstrated potential for the analysis of gene expression, genotyping, and mutational analysis. Our work focuses primarily on the detection and identification of bacteria based on known short sequences of DNA. Oligo Design, the software described here, automates several design aspects that enable the improved selection of oligonucleotides for use with microarrays for these applications. Two major features of the program are: (i) a tiling algorithm for the design of short overlapping temperature-matched oligonucleotides of variable length, which are useful for the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms and (ii) a set of tools for the analysis of multiple alignments of gene families and related short DNA sequences, which allow for the identification of conserved DNA sequences for PCR primer selection and variable DNA sequences for the selection of unique probes for identification. Note that the program does not address the full genome perspective but, instead, is focused on the genetic analysis of short segments of DNA. The program is Internet-enabled and includes a built-in browser and the automated ability to download sequences from GenBank by specifying the GI number. The program also includes several utilities, including audio recital of a DNA sequence (useful for verifying sequences against a written document), a random sequence generator that provides insight into the relationship between melting temperature and GC content, and a PCR calculator.

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