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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and OpenHelixTM Announce an Updated Free Tutorial Suite for VISTA: Tools for Comparative Genomics

Free Tutorial Suite available from OpenHelix on the VISTA bioinformatics resource.

(PRWEB) March 1, 2010 -- The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) announces an updated, free OpenHelixTM tutorial suite on the VISTA bioinformatics resources (

VISTA’s focus is comparative genomics, providing a comprehensive suite of programs and databases for biomedical researchers. VISTA includes excellent tools to examine genomic sequences—coding, non-coding, and important regulatory regions like transcription factor binding sites.

VISTA recently added VISTA Point which combines capabilities of the three tools currently available at the site – VISTA Gateway, VISTA Browser, and Text Browser. VISTA Point makes analyzing multiple and pairwise genome alignments and extracting relevant numerical data much more straightforward.

“As we continually update and improve the VISTA suite of tools, it is critical we give users the training they need to use the tools efficiently and effectively,” said Inna Dubchak, Principal Investigator for the VISTA project, “Our history with OpenHelix has proven that their tutorial suite is an excellent and cost-effective method for us to provide that training.”

The online narrated tutorial (, which runs in just about any browser, can be viewed from beginning to end or navigated using chapters and forward and backward sliders. The approximately 60 minute tutorial highlights and explains the features and functionality needed to start using VISTA effectively. The tutorial can be used by new users to introduce them to VISTA, or by previous users to view new features and functionality or simply as a reference tool to understand specific features.
In addition to the tutorial, VISTA users can also access useful training materials including the animated PowerPoint slides used as a basis for the tutorial, suggested script for the slides, slide handouts, and exercises. This can save a tremendous amount time and effort for teachers and professors to create classroom content.

In addition to the VISTA tutorial, OpenHelix offers nearly 90 tutorial suites on some of the most powerful and popular bioinformatics and genomics tools available on the web. Some of the tutorials suites are freely available through support from the resource providers. The whole catalog of tutorials suites is available through a subscription. Users can view the tutorials and download the free materials at    ;

About VISTA and LBNL
VISTA family of tools has been developed and hosted at Genomics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This project was originally supported by the Programs for Genomic Applications grant from the NHLBI/NIH and is currently supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, US Department of Energy.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been a leader in science and engineering research for more than 70 years. Located on a 200 acre site in the hills above the University of California's Berkeley campus, adjacent to the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab holds the distinction of being the oldest of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories. The Lab is managed by the University of California, operating with an annual budget of more than $500 million and a staff of about 3,800 employees, including more than 500 students.

About OpenHelix
OpenHelix, LLC, ( provides a bioinformatics and genomics search and training portal, giving researchers one place to find and learn how to use resources and databases on the web. The OpenHelix Search portal searches hundreds of resources, tutorial suites and other material to direct researchers to the most relevant resources and OpenHelix training materials for their needs. Researchers and institutions can save time, budget and staff resources by leveraging a subscription to nearly 100 online tutorial suites available through the portal. More efficient use of the most relevant resources means quicker and more effective research.


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