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Which are the best web and mobile apps to advance your research? We have your list!
Convenient tools to complement your labwork
Life in the lab can be fast-paced, with little time between incubations to prepare for the next stage of the experiment. Luckily, we live in an age of convenient digital solutions that can simplify experimental calculations and planning. Even if you’re not in front of a computer, odds are you have your smartphone with you, even in the lab. This easy access to the internet means that you have a number of incredibly helpful research tools right at your fingertips.
From cloning to virus prep, from PCR to CRISPR/Cas9 experiments, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources to make your work easier.
PCR and qPCR
Primer design is critical for every PCR and qPCR assay, and IDT provides several web tools for designing, analyzing, and diluting your primers. Determine reaction conditions and identify problematic sequences before you use up valuable reagents and templates.
Regardless of which cloning method you use, you’ll want a good way to plan your project. SnapGene Viewer lets you easily visualize your molecular biology procedures. While the software can be used for traditional restriction digest methods, it also has built-in support for Gateway Cloning, Gibson Assembly, In-Fusion Cloning, and TA cloning.
Our cloning tools page supports seamless In-Fusion Cloning with a molar ratio calculator and step-by-step primer design tool. This web tool accommodates single- or multiple-insert cloning, vector linearization by inverse PCR or restriction digest, and site-directed mutagenesis.
NEB provides support for traditional cloning methods, with tools for planning restriction digests, calculating molar ratios for ligation, and viewing recommended guidelines for ligation protocols. The Double Digest Finder and Enzyme Finder are also available for iPhone and Android devices.
The EZ Colony Counter for iPhone makes use of your smartphone’s camera to capture images of your transformation plate, then detects and records colony number. You can even manually edit and delete detected colonies.
The Lenti-X GoStix app works in conjunction with Lenti-X GoStix Plus to quantify lentivirus in your viral prep, in just ten minutes. This quick protocol can replace lengthy traditional methods such as qPCR and ELISA for determining accurate viral titer. The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices, and allows you to email the data to yourself for record keeping.
Designing a single guide RNA (sgRNA) to target your gene of interest is the first step in CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Optimal sgRNA design is critical for success, and with that in mind, we have a curated list of web-based tools to help you in this endeavor, with features noted for each. IDT also provides assistance on this subject, with options to select from predesigned sgRNAs, design custom sgRNAs, and assess those designs before ordering.
Calculators and timers
There’s no shortage of online calculators for a wide range of functions, including random number assignment, unit conversion, and buffer recipes. GraphPad’s website includes calculators for statistical analysis as well as chemical and radiochemical data. Millipore Sigma has a page dedicated to unit conversion, from temperature and pressure to flow rate and absorbance/transmittance. Promega’s BioMath Calculators—also available on iPhone and Android devices—help with DNA and protein conversions in addition to other standard calculations like dilution and molarity. The Biological Buffer Calculator app (for iPhone and Android) takes your desired parameters and returns volumes of stock solutions for buffer preparations.
Protocols and databases
The Protocols.io app (for iPhone and Android) lets you run protocols, keep track of modifications, and record details as you run your experiments. You can run your own custom protocols or choose from those that are publicly available in their database.
Your smartphone has access to both PubMed and BioGene through iPhone and Android apps. PubMed On Tap (iPhone) and Prime: PubMed Journals & Tools (Android) connect you with up-to-date citations and let you share articles directly from the apps. With the BioGene app for iPhone, you can instantly pull up gene function and references by simply entering a gene symbol or name.
With new and revised apps coming online regularly, convenient tools for your labwork will constantly be improving. Here’s to technology making our research faster and easier!
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