DNA analysis on the go

DNAApp, a mobile app that visualises and analyses DNA sequences, has been developed by researchers from the Bioinformatics Institute (BII), an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, in Singapore.

The conventional analysis of DNA sequencing files on computers frustrated Dr Samuel KE Gan, molecular cell biologist at BII, when he wanted to work when travelling. He presented the challenge to his computer science research officer Mr Nguyen Phi Vu, to find a better way to read data on the move.

The outcome was DNAApp, developed in three months, which allowed Dr Gan to read and analyse ab1 format DNA sequencing files on his mobile phone.

The app enables users to assess the quality of DNA sequences and carries out commonly used functions of DNA sequencing analysis, such as reverse complementation, translation and the ability to search for specific sequences.

It can work without internet access and has features that aid analysis such as the ability to search, swipe or jump to a specific section of a sequence and the incorporation of fast and end-scrolling icons. These allow the application to complement existing web-based bioinformatics tools for deeper analysis.

“As the use of mobile devices and their applications becomes increasingly widespread, we hope to continue to be at the forefront of technology - creating new bioinformatics tools for the advancement of scientific knowledge and making science accessible,” said Dr Gan.

The app is freely available via app stores and can be used to analyse DNA sequencing via any iOS or Android mobile device.

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