All the best for 2010

So once again we find ourselves on a cold January day looking back at the year that has just been, and towards to the year that will be.

We’ve been very pleased that during 2009 we’ve had a record number of users contacting us with new ideas, and feedback on how MacVector works for them. Some of you had excellent ideas, and many of these ideas made it straight into the following release. For example accessing Vector NTI databases, Gateway cloning, displaying the 6 frame translations below the NA sequence in the editor and AutoAnnotation were all added in direct response to user requests made during 2009.

We’ve also been pleased with the releases we’ve made during 2009, especially MacVector 11. We’ve always aimed for MacVector to be the easiest sequence analysis application to use on the Mac. After all as we’ve said before the real work is made at the bench and in the thinking before that, not whilst sat in front of the computer. So the quicker you are able to design your experiments, then the more time you’ll have to write up those great results! With MacVector 11 Click Cloning became even easier to use and more powerful with the ability to manipulate overhanging ends and a new digest/ligate dialog in this release. This release also saw the introduction of Auto Annotation which is a great time saver for anybody who regularly has to curate their lab’s plasmids, or receives plain text sequences of cloning vectors.

2009 also saw the release of the fastest OS X version yet: Snow Leopard. We believe in supporting the latest version of OS X, and we made sure that MacVector 11 (which was released just before Snow Leopard) supported it straight out of the box! After all the January sales may see many of you with brand new Macs (well perhaps more likely to be from a successful grant application!).

Looking forward to this year we have MacVector 11.1 for release toward the end of this month. This release has a large number of changes designed to simplify and speed up many common workflows and to provide better integration with OS X. For example, there are now multiple levels of Undo for the Multiple Sequence Alignment, Contig/Align to Reference and Trace editor windows, and many analysis functions (restriction enzyme, subsequence searches, translation etc) now use drop-down dialog sheets. Other enhancements include the ability to import .ma4 files produced by Vector NTI, many tweaks to the graphics layout view (particularly for large sequences) and improved editing of Align to Reference and Contig Assemblies. In addition, there have been numerous bug fixes and underlying code cleanup so that MacVector 11.1 is more stable than ever.

Our biggest release during 2010 will be MacVector 11.5. This will be a click-cloning/vector construction release that will further improve the ease and functionality, as well as finally removing some long standing limitations. A long standing request is that you cannot currently select across the origin of a circular molecule. For cloning it means that you cannot replace a segment or easily create features that span the split point. That will be fixed and you’ll be able to rotate the molecule to any arbitrary split point. We also want to improve primer design to better support construct creation. The current Primer3 tool will be given a revamped interface to make it easier to use tailed primers and primers that have mismatches to the target. You’ll also be able to find restriction sites that can be changed into a site by a single base change. Allowing you to view only sites that do not modify any underlying open reading frames. There will also be continued work on the various graphic result windows to integrate them with the main Map tab. That will make it easier to convert results (e.g. open reading frames from the Nucleic Acid Toolbox) into features associated with a sequence.

Between these two main releases as we become aware of bugs or for example, any sequence format changes we’ll release minor updates as soon as possible to deal with these. As well as the big new functions we generally also try and add as many small bug fixes and enhancements as we can reasonably do into each release, all based on requests from users. If you have a new feature you’d like to see, or a pet hate you’d like to see fixed, please let us know and we’ll try and do something about it. We can also make minor changes that would make your workflows easier to both new and old functions, so make sure you keep that feedback coming in during 2010!

So here’s to 2010 and lots of success in whatever field you work in. We hope that MacVector will be able to help you.

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