October 15, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 18)
Strong Points: Free software, easy to use
Weak Points: Limited to OS X platform
4 Peaks is a handy program for OS X that lets researchers easily analyze their DNA sequencing trace files. The software is free to download and is easy to use. Users simply open their trace files in the program to access functions such as a visual depiction of sequence quality, the ability to change the spacing between peaks on the display, and plugins to analyze hydrophobicity and the summary statistics for nucleotide and amino acid prevalence. The translated amino acid sequence is displayed beneath the DNA nucleotides, with codons clearly demarcated. Users can introduce frame shifts of 1–3 nucleotides and the corresponding protein sequence is updated. The entire DNA sequence (not just that portion displayed on the screen) can be displayed in a sidebar, and users can toggle between the DNA sequence and the translated sequence. For the translated sequences, users can select the reference organism and can customize other features such as whether amino acids are displayed using their one- or three-letter codes.