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Hawkeyeish on technology
February 2010
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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MADISON, Wis. DNASTAR, a molecular biology software company, announced recently that researchers at the University of Iowa have signed a broad site license agreement for the use of its Lasergene sequence analysis software.  

Under the terms of the site license, University of Iowa researchers will have unlimited access and use of the software for their sequence analysis projects. The license is for a four-year period. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

According to Tom Schwei, vice president, general manager and CFO of DNASTAR, the Lasergene site license covers the entire Iowa City campus, and researchers from a wide range of disciplines will have access to the software.  

"Projects will likely include basic molecular biology studies, microbial studies, animal and plant studies, and a variety of studies attempting to allow scientists to gain a better understanding of disease," he says. "As has historically happened in our many other site license situations, we expect that the number of users of our software at the University of Iowa will increase significantly now that the institute has standardized its sequence analysis platform."

Schwei notes that the site license includes the latest version of Lasergene, v8.1, which provides users with tools capable of being used in the analysis of next-generation sequence data, gene discovery and analysis, automated virtual cloning (including MultiSite Gateway cloning), simultaneous examination of SNP's from multiple samples, and numerous other features. Upgrades of Lasergene that are released during the contract period are also included.

Some new enhancements to Lasergene allow users to perform virtual Multi-Site Gateway cloning and, through its new Assemble in Groups functionality, permit researchers to easily assemble and analyze multiple sequencing samples simultaneously.   

"The virtual cloning and primer design are extremely easy to perform and widely used in molecular biology laboratories at major institutions, like the University of Iowa, globally," notes Schwei. "Lasergene can be used on standard desktop and laptop computers running either Windows or Macintosh operating systems. It is able to be run as part of a linked network or as a series of standalone implementations."

Lasergene's versatility and widespread use in the global scientific community, including licensed use in more than 70 countries, make it an excellent tool for an institution like the University of Iowa, with the broad scope of its molecular biology research, adds Schwei.
Bob Steinhauser, DNASTAR's director of marketing, says the University of Iowa and DNASTAR have been working together for many years.

"The site license brings together many different research groups within the university and provides uniformity and standardization of the sequencing software at the university," he says. "Site licenses that provide a large number of researchers at a facility access to the use of software are popular at research facilities worldwide because they permit researchers to collaborate much easier. We are extremely pleased that as the activities at the university have grown, DNASTAR has been able to grow with them."

Lasergene provides users with tools to perform a wide range of DNA assembly, visualization and analysis operations on data generated by the conventional Sanger sequencing method, as well as next-generation platforms available from Roche 454, Illumina, ABI SOLiD and Helicos. It can also be used in a wide range of protein analysis applications.

Schwei notes that Lasergene and its predecessor products have been used by researchers performing DNA sequence analysis studies for more than 25 years.  

"Our software is time-tested and accepted as the gold standard by thousands of researchers worldwide, primarily due to the comprehensive nature of capabilities it offers and its ease of use," adds Schwei. "The majority of DNASTAR's employees are life scientists, which contributes greatly to the development and continuing support of our software for our customers."

If publication in peer-reviewed journals is any measure of success, there were more than 450 articles in which DNASTAR's software was directly referenced in 2009.  

"Lasergene is also integrated nicely with other DNASTAR products, including SeqMan NGen, an advanced next-generation DNA sequence assembly engine; and GenVision, an enhanced genomic visualization software package," Schwei points out. "Users have the tools to identify Open Reading Frames (ORFs), identify indels, and examine in-depth the areas where SNPs are located to examine the impact of SNPs on translation. Lasergene can also be used as the analysis tool for life scientists who are working with next- generation sequencing applications where the volume of data is many times the size of that normally seen in conventional studies."
 
 
Code: E021009

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