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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jan 13;33(1):e9.

BiSearch: primer-design and search tool for PCR on bisulfite-treated genomes.

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Institute of Enzymology, BRC, Hungarian Academy of Sciences H-1113 Budapest, Karolina út 29, Hungary.


Bisulfite genomic sequencing is the most widely used technique to analyze the 5-methylation of cytosines, the prevalent covalent DNA modification in mammals. The process is based on the selective transformation of unmethylated cytosines to uridines. Then, the investigated genomic regions are PCR amplified, subcloned and sequenced. During sequencing, the initially unmethylated cytosines are detected as thymines. The efficacy of bisulfite PCR is generally low; mispriming and non-specific amplification often occurs due to the T richness of the target sequences. In order to ameliorate the efficiency of PCR, we developed a new primer-design software called BiSearch, available on the World Wide Web. It has the unique property of analyzing the primer pairs for mispriming sites on the bisulfite-treated genome and determines potential non-specific amplification products with a new search algorithm. The options of primer-design and analysis for mispriming sites can be used sequentially or separately, both on bisulfite-treated and untreated sequences. In silico and in vitro tests of the software suggest that new PCR strategies may increase the efficiency of the amplification.

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