Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

JUL 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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For more information, visit our website (, click on New Products, and search through our comprehensive new products database. New Products 42 | JULY 2017 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Best Science Apps Links to the apps described above are posted on GEN's website, To suggest an app for Best Science Apps, please send a link to Taralyn Tan ( Key Strong Points Weak Points Excellent Ratings Very Good Good 9 – HHHH HHH HH Build a Body: Biological Systems HHHH Platform: iPad Available for Android: No Cost: $6.99 9 Engaging activities, educational descriptions The Build a Body: Biological Systems app is an engag- ing, educational tool in which users construct various biological systems by dragging-and-dropping differ- ent components to the appropriate location on the screen. Thirteen biological systems await construction in the full version and include humans, three animal specimens (frog, trout, and worm), different plant specimens, and four cell types (animal, bacterial, fungal, and plant). A free version that includes only the male and female human exercises is also avail- able. For each component that is to be placed—for example, the different parts of the human digestive system—a brief educational description is provided. There isn't a great depth of information contained within these text blurbs, but there is enough that users will certainly come away from the app having learned something in the process of building the various systems. EMD PTE HHHH Platform: iPad/iPhone Available for Android: Yes Cost: Free 9 Beautiful graphics, interactive displays You might not stumble upon this Periodic Table app by accident given its cryptic name, but this app is highly recommended. Of the many digital Periodic Tables of the Elements that are available, this one is particularly strik- ing in its sleek design, additional view fea- tures, and supplementary information (such as the people who discovered each element and the etymology of the elements' names) that is not typically included in such apps. Beyond the traditional table view, users can interact with the table in many different ways, such as by viewing particular atomic properties like atomic radius or by observing state changes of different elements across various temperatures (using a slide bar to increase or decrease the temperature). The app includes a molar mass calculator as well as a glossary, so there are plenty of useful resources to explore. SearchLight HHHH Platform: iPad/iPhone Available for Android: No Cost: Free 9 Large collection of fluorophores and filters, nice layout – Only Semrock filters included The SearchLight app by Semrock is a wonderful tool for research- ers who use fluorescent microscopy (and is especially useful for researchers whose microscopes include Semrock filters). Despite the app's focus on Semrock filters and filter sets, even non-Semrock customers will find it useful, as the spectrum viewer lets app us- ers quickly visualize the excitation and emission spectra for a large number of fluorophores. The spectral properties of a number of light sources and detectors are also included. The layout of the app is thoughtful, providing users access to both the plot and menus in the same screen. On a separate screen, in-app calculators can calculate parameters like signal brightness, predicted autofluorescence, and the signal-to-noise ratios for specific fluorophore/filter combinations. Users can also choose to view the plot and calculator simultaneously using the split-screen view option. Biochemistry & Histology HH Review Game Platform: iPad/iPhone Available for Android: No Cost: Free (in-app purchase to full version for $9.99) 9 Easy-to-use, no lag in gameplay – Very simple questions, limited questions in free versions The "Scrub Wars" Biochemistry & Histology app offers a whimsical, game-style approach to reviewing material for medical exams. In the game, users navigate a spaceship that must avoid falling objects and shoot at the correct answer within a given time frame as four potential answer prompts to the posed question descend down the screen. Questions are organized into twenty categories (or "lev- els") that include cell biology, cell and DNA repair, and lab methods, among others. The free "lite" version really is just a sampling, providing fifty questions that span all of these categories. The complete version (available for purchase) includes 1,000 additional questions. The graphics are simple, but decent, and the game doesn't lag. Thus, students may enjoy uninterrupted intergalactic biology review. Medical Lab Tests HHHH Platform: iPad/iPhone Available for Android: No Cost: Free (in-app purchase for $4.99 to pro version) 9 Large collection of tests, good amount of information With twelve different categories of lab tests spanning hematology, endocrinology, and immunology (among others), the Medical Lab Tests app is a wonderful resource for medical professionals. (Note that users can choose to upgrade to the pro version to unlock five additional areas of content: cancer markers, cerebrospinal fluid, drugs, toxicology, and urine.) The entry corresponding to each lab test includes background in- formation on the test, the reference range, detailed clinical information, and the overall interpretation of the test. Users can readily access tests via the category menu, or they can browse the tests by their alphabeti- cal listing. The app also allows users to search for specific tests by name. Specific tests can be saved to a favorites list for easy access later. Molecule HHH Platform: iPad/iPhone Available for Android: No Cost: Free 9 Uses intuitive touch mechanics, good tutorial – Some glitchy settings Molecule is a nicely designed and easy-to-use app to draw chemical structures from one's tablet or smart phone. The comprehensive tutorial located under the "help" section of the app walks users through the drawing mechanics, all of which utilize on-screen touch mechanics rather than a keyboard to select the atoms and bonds to be added to the structure. As the structure is built, the molecular weight, monoisotopic mass, chemical formula, and elemental composition is up- dated and displayed in the upper-left portion of the screen. (In theory, users can opt to turn off these calculations, though the on/off toggle was faulty at the time of this review.) Users can easily undo/redo specific actions, and the final structures can be exported via email or apps like Google Drive or Slack. The drawing projects can also be stored in iCloud.

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