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Ottawa Scientists Create (free) Program that Automates Primer Design

Bruno Fonseca, PhD scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and Riu Liu, PhD scientist at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) collaborated over the past four years to develop a software tool that automates the design of primers for site-directed mutagenesis. Their new software program is called PrimerGenesis.

“We’ve automated a Nobel-prize winning research technique,” says Bruno Fonseca, co-creator of the software. “Genome sequencing yields vast amounts of data on disease-causing mutations in DNA. Investigating each mutation by a common practice called site-directed mutagenesis is a laborious and time-consuming task. There’s an appetite for automating this task in the field of molecular biology research, so it’s been rewarding to develop this software.”

Generating mutations in a gene typically requires a researcher to manually design a small strip of DNA called “primer”. Instead of counting individual nucleotides within a strip of DNA, this time-consuming task can be completed computationally in a matter of seconds by using this new software program.

“We’ve aimed to make it as user-friendly as possible,” said Rui Liu, co-creator of PrimerGenesis. “The software is extremely versatile and can be widely applied; yes, it can be used to generate mutations but it can also be used to introduce specific tags upstream or downstream of a gene.”

PrimerGenesis is free and available globally without registration or download requirements at: or

Thanks to CHEO for contributing this story.

October 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

Chromatography 101: An Introduction to Medium-Pressure Chromatography

October 29, 2014 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

11 Cool Scientific Facts

Even hardcore scientists can get excited over cool pop-science trivia. For example, did you know that tomatoes have more genes than humans or that the human body is composed of 10x more bacteria than human cells? If that interests you, check out the video below to learn 9 more ultra-cool facts.

October 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Automated Droplet Generator Saves Time and Improves Data Quality

Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of its Automated Droplet Generator (AutoDG™ Instrument) for digital PCR. Combined with the QX200™ Droplet Reader and a laptop computer with QuantaSoft™ Software, the QX200™ AutoDG™ Droplet Digital™ PCR System provides a worry-free, automated way to generate droplets for high-quality data.

“With a quick setup, you’re able to walk away and return to a full plate of droplets ready for thermal cycling and analysis,” said Carolyn Reifsnyder, Bio-Rad marketing manager, Digital Biology Center.

Generating droplets with a hand pipet can be labor intensive and time consuming, and variations in pipetting habits among different users can cause some degree of inconsistency in the resulting data. Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Instrument creates droplets quickly, reproducibly, and reliably. At maximum capacity, the system can generate droplets for 96 wells in less than 45 minutes.

“Droplet Digital PCR is sensitive enough to detect differences in people’s pipetting habits,” said Viresh Patel, Bio-Rad senior marketing manager, Digital Biology Center. “This instrument eliminates that variability.”

The AutoDG Instrument has its own hood and HEPA filter, reducing contamination so researchers can create droplets on a standard laboratory bench, without the need for a PCR cabinet or cleanroom. Adding to the instrument’s ease of use is a color touch-screen interface and deck lighting that guides the operator through system setup to ensure no steps are forgotten. Confirmation is provided once the required consumables are loaded correctly and 45 minutes later the droplets are ready.

Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Instrument can generate droplets for fluorescent probe–based detection or EvaGreen dye–based detection. The instrument is compatible with the QX100™ and QX200 Droplet Digital PCR Systems.

For more information on Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Droplet Digital PCR System, please visit

October 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

$11.6M boost for UBC

The University of British Columbia has received $11.6 million for 16 new and renewed federally funded Canada Research Chairs.

With 13 new appointments, and three renewals, UBC now has 186 Canada Research Chairs, the second-highest number in the country. Newly appointed researchers are helping improve stress-tolerant crops, solar electricity and tuberculosis treatments, and making big discoveries about the origins of planets and of life on Earth.

“The CRC program provides a major boost to UBC research, and helps our school attract and retain the best and brightest minds from across the globe,” said John Hepburn, vice president Research and International. “Our professors are making important discoveries that are invaluable to academia and to the world at large, so we’re very grateful for the program’s support.”

Nationally there are 137 new and renewed chairholders in 37 postsecondary institutions, receiving $118,000,000 of new funding.

“Our government is committed to science, technology and innovation to improve our quality of life and create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians,” said Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), who made the announcement in Toronto on October 16. “Our government’s Canada Research Chairs Program develops, attracts and retains top researcher talent in Canada whose research, in turn, creates long-term social and economic benefits while training the next generation of students and researchers in Canada.”

Thanks to the University of British Columbia for contributing this story.

October 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Why You Need to get a Good Night’s Rest

October 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

Learn Lane and Bands Analysis from the Experts


Learn Lane and Bands Analysis from the Experts
V3 Western Workflow™ — WEBINARS
Join us for a 30 minute live webinar developed and delivered by our knowledgeable Technical Support Team.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 10:00 AM Pacific
As you get ready to use your new system, we will provide you with an opportunity to learn about the analysis tools built into the Image Lab software. This training will cover the steps to use our lane and bands analysis to quantitate bands, as well as an introduction to total protein normalization.



October 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

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