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mikenz reviewed on 22 Aug 2006
For a long time scientists who generate or analyse DNA sequences have been using multiple pieces of software to: 1) view chromatographs, 2) trim sequences 3) Blast data 4) align sequences 5) build phylogenetic trees. Chopping and changing between different file formats and at times different operating systems (Mac, PC, Unix/Linux) has been a frustrating and time-consuming exercise. Current and future releases of Geneious (www.geneious.com) offer a solution to (most) of these frustrations. The software logo “research in a flash” accurately describe the potential of Geneious - only months after its release it has become the “Swiss army knife” of bioinformatics software.

The user interface of Geneious is both attractive and intuitive. While the software has some “bell and whistles” for more complex tasks one of its key attributes is a simple user interface. Earlier this year I used the Beta-release in some undergraduate teaching labs - with great success. Students did a Genbank search, downloaded files, did an alignment and built a phylogenetic tree (with bootstrapping) all in the blink of an eye. If you are looking for a piece of bioinformatics software for teaching purposes look no further than Geneious.

With the integration of sequence chromatograph viewing and editing of DNA sequences/alignments (new in version 2) Geneious is now firmly embedded in my research practices. As is the case with any new software there are a few features that don't work quite as well as you might like - but the good news is that if you write to them they will likely fix it up asap. My request to provide a variety of nucleotide colour schemes was implemented within 2 weeks. Moreover, the software is structured in such a way that “new” plugins can be written and incorporated with relative ease.

The Geneious team has made available a freeware version and a pro version that (for a price) allows you to access more functionality. Based on the hours of time this program has saved me already I would not even blink at the academic price tag of $133 (USD) - or cheaper for students.

The software almost has too many features to comment on in any one review (e.g. “agents” and collaboration modes) - the best advice I can give is to download it, do the tutorial and test drive it on a bioinformatics task that you regularly conduct - it won't disappoint.
[Version 2.0.4]

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