Primer Prim'r: A web based server for automated primer design
The Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium (NESG) is one of nine NIH-funded pilot projects created to develop technologies needed for structural studies of proteins on a genome-wide scale. One of the most challenging aspects of this emerging field is the production of protein samples amenable to structural determination. To do this efficiently, all steps in the protein production pipeline must be automated. Here we describe the Primer program (linked from http://www-nmr.cabm.rutgers.edu/bioinformatics, www-nmr.cabm.rutgers.edu/bioinformatics), a web-based primer design program freely available to the scientific community, which was created to automate this time consuming and laborious task. This program has the ability to simultaneously calculate plasmid specific primer sets for multiple open reading frame (ORF) targets, including 96-well and greater formats. Primer includes a library of commonly used plasmid systems and possesses the ability to upload user-defined plasmid systems. In addition to calculating gene-specific annealing regions for each target, the program also adds appropriate restriction endonuclease recognition or viral recombination sites while preserving a reading frame with plasmid based fusions. Primer has several useful features such as sorting calculated primer sets by target size, facilitating interpretation of PCR amplifications by agarose gel electrophoresis, as well as supplying the molecular biologist with many important characteristics of each target such as the expected size of the PCR amplified DNA fragment and internal restriction sites. The NESG has cloned over 1500 genes using oligonucleotide primers designed by Primer.
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