Mobile devices such as iPads and smartphones are increasingly being used by laboratory researchers to aid them in their research. One example is the move towards electronic lab books. As a result, app developers have responded to this trend and are developing apps tailored to specific laboratory techniques including PCR and qPCR. The following are a list of PCR related apps that may make your life in the lab that bit easier. Most of these are free but a number require a fee for increased functionality.

1. MIQE qPCR; Android/iPhone/iPad

The MIQE guidelines were first published in 2009 to help researchers publish accurate and reproducible data. They includes a checklist of information to provide when submitting a manuscript that involves PCR data for publication. Recommendations for Sample Acquisition, Handling, and Preparation are also included. As PCR technology has evolved these guidelines have followed suit. A revised set focused on digital PCR have recently been published. This app will allow you confirm if your project is MIQE compliant and keep you up to date with relevant news and events.

2. Anneal before me; Android

This app will calculate optimum annealing temperatures for PCR primers. Unfortunately it’s only currently available on Android devices. An alternative option for iPhone/iPad users is NEB tools and will retrieve recommended cycling conditions when using NEB polymerases. NEB tools is not able for Android.

3. iOligo EazyPrimer (iPad/iPhone)

An option similar to Anneal before me for IPhone/iPad. This app will calculate parameters such as Tm and GC content and will even identify secondary structures.

4. Mastermix Calculators

Accuracy is key in PCR and starting your reaction with accurate volumes of your Mastermix components is essential. A mastermix calculator for Apple mobile devices called PCR master mix is available. An alternative for Android is LabMama which offers a free version which can be upgraded for extra capability. Life technologies also have a general Real-Time PCR app which contains a reaction calculator, troubleshooting guide amongst other feature. This is available for both Android and iPhone/iPad. Additionally, Life Technologies have an app that links your Android or iPhone/iPad to their Proflex system enabling you to plan your research while away from the lab!

What are your experiences of using mobile devices for planning research? Have you any favourite apps not listed above?

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