An evaluation of custom microarray applications: the oligonucleotide design challenge

Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Apr;37(6):1726-39. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp053. Epub 2009 Feb 10.


The increase in feature resolution and the availability of multipack formats from microarray providers has opened the way to various custom genomic applications. However, oligonucleotide design and selection remains a bottleneck of the microarray workflow. Several tools are available to perform this work, and choosing the best one is not an easy task, nor are the choices obvious. Here we review the oligonucleotide design field to help users make their choice. We have first performed a comparative evaluation of the available solutions based on a set of criteria including: ease of installation, user-friendly access, the number of parameters and settings available. In a second step, we chose to submit two real cases to a selection of programs. Finally, we used a set of tests for the in silico benchmark of the oligo sets obtained from each type of software. We show that the design software must be selected according to the goal of the scientist, depending on factors such as the organism used, the number of probes required and their localization on the target sequence. The present work provides keys to the choice of the most relevant software, according to the various parameters we tested.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Mice
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods*
  • Oligonucleotide Probes / chemistry*
  • Software*


  • Oligonucleotide Probes