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Organize Your Data from the Big Blue Mutation Assay

Record, analyze, and report data with the MutaTrak electronic notebook

G. (Paul) Kotturi Mark J. Dycaico

Marc Hamovitch Doug Schroeder
Solana Consulting Group, Solana Beach, CA

Stratagene introduces the MutaTrak electronic notebook to record Big Blue transgenic rodent mutation assay * data in an electronic format. Data are entered in a logical order and updated easily as an experiment continues. After experiments are completed, analysis and reporting features greatly simplify data interpretation and manuscript preparation.

Stratagenes new MutaTrak electronic notebook creates a convenient and comprehensive user interface with the Big Blue mutation assay.1 Scientists using the Big Blue system have specially designed the MutaTrak electronic notebook, resulting in an efficient and thorough software package featuring data entry, online documentation, data analysis, and report generation capabilities.

The MutaTrak electronic notebook runs on the Windows 95 platform, either as a stand-alone application or in a multiuser network environment. Information is organized in a hierarchical database structure. An administration system is used to set up user profiles in which security privileges (blocked access, read-only access, or read/write access) may be assigned for each data-entry section. Detailed experimental notes can be entered at each level, allowing users to store specific information. Additional features include online help, password security, and utilities.

Data Entry

Figure 1

As shown in Figure 1, data entry is arranged using the popular and simple recipe card design, which facilitates data entry and retrieval. The card tabs are always visible; the highlighted tab in dicates the active section. Just click on the tabs and flip through the recipe cards from left to right as information is entered. Location in the data hierarchy is constantly displayed in the guide boxes at the bottom of the screen. These guide boxes are automatically updated as new information is entered. In addition to monitoring hierarchical position, they can also be used to quickly jump to other areas in the data structure by making a selection from the dropdown list in each box. In this way, the accuracy of the data entered lower in the hierarchy can be checked.

The MutaTrak electronic notebook can be used with both the established lacI plaque color-screening method2 and the l Select-cII mutation assay kit3. Once the screening method is chosen, the corresponding fields specific to the particular assay are presented. On the Screening page, mutant information is entered. After DNA sequence information is available, the specific mutation(s) identified for each mutant can be cataloged and categorized in detail (Figure 2).

Figure 2


When data entry is complete, a range of reporting tools is available: Using the Mutant Frequency Report, data are collated from separate plating experiments, and mutant frequencies are calculated. The report compares mutant frequencies from two treatment groups. Mutational events are assessed using the Mutational Spectrum Report, which tabulates mutational spectra based on the occurrence of each mutation type. Specialized computations are also performed, such as calculating the percentage of mutations at CpG sites and correcting for possible clonal effects. In addition to the standard re ports, an ad-hoc reporting feature enables users to create customized lists of up to seven simultaneously displayed fields. Customized formats can be saved for later use. Ad-hoc reports can also be exported in a database format (*.xls) for further analysis or formatting using a standard spreadsheet application.


The MutaTrak Electronic Notebook provides data storage and analysis in an easy-to-use system that encompasses both the lacI plaque color screening and the l Select-cII mutation assays. With the MutaTrak electronic notebook, all experimental details are organized in one format and one place; hence, data can be quickly and easily interpreted, reported, and maintained.

  1. Kohler, S.W., et al. (1991) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88: 7958-7962.

  2. Kohler, S.W., et al. (1991) Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 18: 316-321.

  3. Jakubczak, J.L., et al. (1996) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 93: 9073-9078.

* U.S. Patent Nos. 5,347,075 and 5,589,155; European Patent No. 0289121; Japanese Patent No. 2618973



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