October 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 18)
Strong Points: Simple design, easy to use
Weak Points: Nothing major
Having PCR troubles? Whether you’re running standard PCR applications, qPCR, or even more specialized reactions, one important variable that affects the success (or failure) of the experiment is primer design. There are many online tools to assist with this process, and here is a new player on the primer-design scene: OligoArchitect by Sigma-Aldrich. One advantage that this program has over some others is the fact that it utilizes Premier Biosoft’s Beacon Designer algorithm, an established standard in the field. The website is very bare-boned (but one doesn’t need many bells and whistles for a primer design tool, after all) and simple to use. Users must first complete a free registration to access the tool. After that, they can get to work designing one of five different types of probe: SYBR Green I, Dual-Labeled, Molecular Beacon, Scorpions, or LightCycler probes.