DNA Parrot/Gel Reader

Wed Mar 4 13:11:00 EST 1992

>> Fellow netters, I'm trying to track down the name of a company
>> which manufactures a device called a "DNA parrot". This is simply
>> a five-button mouse and software to enter DNA sequences from an
>> autoradiogram. Unfortunately, I can't seem to unearth the ad.

   One source for this device is the gel rig maker CBS Scientific of Del Mar,
CA (619 755 4959). It's a ~4 inch slab of transparent plexi with 5 buttons in
it, one for each base (combinations of the buttons can also enter
ambiguities) and a 'delete' if you make a mistake).  It also speaks the bases
as you type. It comes in both PC and Mac versions, each costing $995 for the
'mouse', the serial interface and 3 inserts which match the lane widths of
your gel. 
   I've used the Mac version and while it sounds like a great idea (and in
fact _some_ people swear by it), it's a little cumbersome and unless you are
in a perfect position (standing over it, directly in front, gel at waist
level), it's a great way to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.  On the other
hand, those that have used it for some time really do swear by it.  It is
very easy to set up and use and the interface is incredibly simple.  Beyond
entering sequence, though, there are no tools for sequence analysis. 
   After trying a great number of these reader things (sonic digitizers,
mice, electromagnetic digitizers, even video digitizers, the cheapest and
easiest method for me has been to use a vertical light box and a keyboard
remapper (like Quickeys or AutoMac) and use the Mac keyboard, remapped to my
liking to enter sequence in to the PD program Speakquencer for validation and
readback, then cut and paste the sequence to Strider for analysis.  If I need
more work on it, I'll (reluctantly) punt it to our VAX to macerate it with
   Std Disclaimer - No ties to CBS except as a customer and while this hasn't 
been a great plug for this bit of technology, they do make great gel rigs.

Harry Mangalam                                       Vox:(619) 453-4100, x250
Biocomputing                                               Fax:(619) 552-1546
Salk Institute                                     mangalam at salk-sc2.sdsc.edu
Box 85800                                          mangalam at salk-sgi.sdsc.edu
San Diego, CA, 92186-5800                                mangalam at salk.bitnet

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