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Background: Restriction enzymes are one of the everyday tools used in molecular biology. The continuously expanding panel of known restriction enzymes (several thousands) renders their optimal use virtually impossible without computerized assistance. Several manufacturers propose on-line sites that assist scientists in their restriction enzyme work, however, none of these sites meet all the actual needs of laboratory workers, and they do not take into account the enzymes actually present in one's own laboratory. Results: Using FileMaker Pro, we developed a stand-alone application which can run on both PCs and Macintoshes. We called it REtools, for Restriction Enzyme tools. This program, which references all currently known enzymes (>3500), permits the creation and update of a personalized list of restriction enzymes actually available in one's own laboratory. Upon opening the program, scientists will be presented with a user friendly interface that will direct them to different menus, each one corresponding to different situations that restriction enzyme users commonly encounter. We particularly emphasized the ease of use to make REtools a solution that laboratory members would actually want to use. Conclusion: REtools, a user friendly and easily customized program to organize any laboratory enzyme stock, brings a software solution that will make restriction enzyme use and reaction condition determination straightforward and efficient. The usually unexplored potential of isoschizomers also becomes accessible to all, since REtools proposes all possible enzymes similar to the one(s) chosen by the user. Finally, many of the commonly overlooked subtleties of restriction enzyme work, such as methylation requirement, unusual reaction conditions, or the number of flanking bases required for cleavage, are automatically provided by REtools. © 2006 Martin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Martin, P., Boulukos, K. E., & Pognonec, P. (2006). REtools: A laboratory program for restriction enzyme work: Enzyme selection and reaction condition assistance. BMC Bioinformatics, 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-7-98