Graphical enhancements in MacVector 11.1

MacVector 11.1 has had many changes that are designed to simplify and speed up many common workflows as well as to providing better integration with OS X and improving performance. A great deal of these changes have been made to improve the graphical Map view.


MacVector’s Map View allows the features and results (e.g. restriction enzyme sites) of a sequence to be graphically displayed. So displaying large AND feature rich sequences can result in a fairly slow Map. By large I’m talking about multi megabase sequences where there can be literally tens of thousands of features to show, all with individual labels and individual appearances. That can result in an extremely cluttered appearance. However, being able to visualise a sequence’s features becomes even more important as the size of the sequence increases. You can easily deal with the actual sequence and features of a single plasmid, but try that with a genome!

So to help with larger sequences the following enhancements have been made:

– For restriction enzymes the layout and performance (~20 fold faster!) of cut sites on crowded maps has been improved. Furthermore cut sites are now not displayed if the Map is so crowded that they would not individually resolve. You can view the hidden sites by zooming in to a smaller region or by right-clicking on the display and choosing “Show Results”.

– MacVector now automatically suppresses the display of feature labels for large sequences with many features (controllable from the Map View preferences pane). However, now when you hover the mouse over a feature, a tooltip displays the label of the feature. This is very useful for crowded maps or for when labels are switched off. Features are also now displayed on the inside region of circular maps to prevent features from overlapping each other or the sequence title.

– As well as increased performance the graphics view is now refreshed more optimally to reduce flickering and avoid multiple redraws of complicated layouts, for example when scrolling or resizing a window.

Label customisation

MacVector has always give the user great control in being able to customise the map’s appearance. By default the label of a feature will show the full description qualifier. However, the label can contain whatever you want. Obviously you do not want to waste lots of time changing multiple labels and so MacVector has metatags to define the information that is placed inside the Label. For example using the code below will show the name and location of a feature.

<Description> <Start> 

That’s really useful for restriction enzyme sites.

There are quite a few new metatags for MV 11.1.

<Size> displays the size of a feature in the label.

<Length> (functionally equivalent with the above metatag).

<Total> shows the count of this particular feature type

<Index> shows the order of an individual feature in the above number.

The last two above are also very useful for displaying restriction enzyme cut sites

e.g. <Desc> (<Index>/<Total>) would generate labels like BamHI (1/3)”, “BamHI (2/3) etc.

You can now correctly combine qualifier based metatags. That means <gene>(<number>)” will display My Gene (1) if the qualifiers /gene=”My Gene” and /number=”1” are present in the feature description. Qualifier based meta-tags are skipped if the qualifier doesn’t exist in the feature description (previously the actual meta-tag text e.g. <gene> would have been displayed).

Finally to make all this easier there is a new popup menu in the feature symbol editor that lets you view all of the available meta-tags and insert them into the label. Click on the small triangle to the left of the label edit box.

MacVector 11.1 will be released very shortly.

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