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      Primer3—new capabilities and interfaces

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          Abstract

          Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a basic molecular biology technique with a multiplicity of uses, including deoxyribonucleic acid cloning and sequencing, functional analysis of genes, diagnosis of diseases, genotyping and discovery of genetic variants. Reliable primer design is crucial for successful PCR, and for over a decade, the open-source Primer3 software has been widely used for primer design, often in high-throughput genomics applications. It has also been incorporated into numerous publicly available software packages and web services. During this period, we have greatly expanded Primer3’s functionality. In this article, we describe Primer3’s current capabilities, emphasizing recent improvements. The most notable enhancements incorporate more accurate thermodynamic models in the primer design process, both to improve melting temperature prediction and to reduce the likelihood that primers will form hairpins or dimers. Additional enhancements include more precise control of primer placement—a change motivated partly by opportunities to use whole-genome sequences to improve primer specificity. We also added features to increase ease of use, including the ability to save and re-use parameter settings and the ability to require that individual primers not be used in more than one primer pair. We have made the core code more modular and provided cleaner programming interfaces to further ease integration with other software. These improvements position Primer3 for continued use with genome-scale data in the decade ahead.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Primer3Plus, an enhanced web interface to Primer3

          Here we present Primer3Plus, a new web interface to the popular Primer3 primer design program as an enhanced alternative for the CGI- scripts that come with Primer3. Primer3 consists of a command line program and a web interface. The web interface is one large form showing all of the possible options. This makes the interface powerful, but at the same time confusing for occasional users. Primer3Plus provides an intuitive user interface using present-day web technologies and has been developed in close collaboration with molecular biologists and technicians regularly designing primers. It focuses on the task at hand, and hides detailed settings from the user until these are needed. We also added functionality to automate specific tasks like designing primers for cloning or step-wise sequencing. Settings and designed primer sequences can be stored locally for later use. Primer3Plus supports a range of common sequence formats, such as FASTA. Finally, primers selected by Primer3Plus can be sent to an order form, allowing tight integration into laboratory ordering systems. Moreover, the open architecture of Primer3Plus allows easy expansion or integration of external software packages. The Primer3Plus Perl source code is available under GPL license from SourceForge. Primer3Plus is available at http://www.bioinformatics.nl/primer3plus.
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            A unified view of polymer, dumbbell, and oligonucleotide DNA nearest-neighbor thermodynamics.

             J SantaLucia (1998)
            A unified view of polymer, dumbbell, and oligonucleotide nearest-neighbor (NN) thermodynamics is presented. DNA NN DeltaG degrees 37 parameters from seven laboratories are presented in the same format so that careful comparisons can be made. The seven studies used data from natural polymers, synthetic polymers, oligonucleotide dumbbells, and oligonucleotide duplexes to derive NN parameters; used different methods of data analysis; used different salt concentrations; and presented the NN thermodynamics in different formats. As a result of these differences, there has been much confusion regarding the NN thermodynamics of DNA polymers and oligomers. Herein I show that six of the studies are actually in remarkable agreement with one another and explanations are provided in cases where discrepancies remain. Further, a single set of parameters, derived from 108 oligonucleotide duplexes, adequately describes polymer and oligomer thermodynamics. Empirical salt dependencies are also derived for oligonucleotides and polymers.
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              The thermodynamics of DNA structural motifs.

              DNA secondary structure plays an important role in biology, genotyping diagnostics, a variety of molecular biology techniques, in vitro-selected DNA catalysts, nanotechnology, and DNA-based computing. Accurate prediction of DNA secondary structure and hybridization using dynamic programming algorithms requires a database of thermodynamic parameters for several motifs including Watson-Crick base pairs, internal mismatches, terminal mismatches, terminal dangling ends, hairpins, bulges, internal loops, and multibranched loops. To make the database useful for predictions under a variety of salt conditions, empirical equations for monovalent and magnesium dependence of thermodynamics have been developed. Bimolecular hybridization is often inhibited by competing unimolecular folding of a target or probe DNA. Powerful numerical methods have been developed to solve multistate-coupled equilibria in bimolecular and higher-order complexes. This review presents the current parameter set available for making accurate DNA structure predictions and also points to future directions for improvement.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Res
                nar
                nar
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Oxford University Press
                0305-1048
                1362-4962
                August 2012
                August 2012
                21 June 2012
                21 June 2012
                : 40
                : 15
                : e115
                Affiliations
                1Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie der Universität Heidelberg, DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Heidelberg 69120, Germany, 2Neurobiology and Behavioral Disorders and Centre for Computational Biology, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore 169857, 3Department of Bioinformatics, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Tartu 51010, Estonia, 4National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA and 5Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +65 9857 3213; Fax: +65 6221 8625; Email: steve.rozen@ 123456duke-nus.edu.sg

                The authors wish it to be known that, in their opinion, the first three authors should be regarded as joint First Authors.

                Article
                gks596
                10.1093/nar/gks596
                3424584
                22730293
                Published by Oxford University Press 2012.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 12
                Categories
                Methods Online

                Genetics

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