Science and technology when combined together can turn all the tables around. Computer science has brought so much validity to our hypothesis. One great interdisciplinary field under development is Bioinformatics.
When the codes for life and codes for computer program sync, they develop tools as strong as SnapGene. In this SnapGene Review, we shall discuss how SnapGene software is adding new meaning to Biological sciences.
Let’s begin with the basic understanding about the tool, like what is it and how it works!
What is SnapGene Tool?
SnapGene is a Bioinformatical tool. SnapGene tool claims to plan, visualize, and document molecular cloning procedures. It lays down multiple robust features for basic analysis of molecular cloning procedures.
SnapGene is a popular tool among the Bioinformatical society. The reason for the same is extensive, fast, and user-friendly features. It is intuitive, prevents error and helps in data exchange easily.
You know! There is something unique about SnapGene!
What is unique about SnapGene?
Well, when I tried to compare SnapGene with other Molecular cloning tool such as Geneious, I found that SnapGene is far more elaborate and extensive. In Geneious, this process of cloning is a one-step process.
However, in SnapGene, Molecular cloning is the foremost feature and elaborative too. You will know about its remarkable features in the upcoming sections.
Who’s it for?
Computational Biologists and Professional Programmers have designed the tool with a lot of sophistication. They have applied the appropriate algorithms and right codes for easiness in use. The tool is handy and can be used by people from various interdisciplinary science fields.
The SnapGene tool can be used by any person who has basic computational knowledge and clear understanding of biological concepts. Undergraduate students, post graduate students, PhD scholars, professors, lecturers, academic professionals, corporates and scientists can use the software.
 Sequence Alignment:
A typical basic feature for any type of software tool. It allows the alignment of DNA sequences with reference genomes or any other genome you can choose manually.
You can align the complementary DNA to any chromosome. You can verify the cloning or mutagenesis that you have performed. Pairwise alignment and multiple sequence alignments between DNA sequences and Protein sequences can be performed.
The choice to choose the alignment algorithm is also provided. You can choose from Clustal Omega, MAFFT, MUSCLE, and T-Coffee. Contig Assembly is an essential feature exhibited by SnapGene.
 Visualizing the Executions:
The viewing options are fascinating. You would fall for the intricate designing and viewing choices. Firstly, there are multiple view options for DNA and Protein sequences. You can view, edit and annotate the DNA or Protein sequences.
There are large sequence supported. You can even color code the sequences. Isn’t that interesting and creative!
 Edits and Annotations:
The basic and necessary features of SnapGene. They make it unique and user-friendly. You can create, edit sequences, and annotate them automatically for common features.
You can manually annotate the specific or novel features of the sample. You can number the translations sophisticatedly. Manually choose the codons as an alternate. SnapGene supports the ribosomal slippage as well.
 Molecular Cloning Procedures:
The most commonly used and applied feature of SnapGene. It can perform various types of cloning such as- Restriction Cloning, In-Fusion Cloning, Gateway Cloning, TA & GC Cloning, TOPO Cloning and many more. It performs Gibson Assembly and NEBuilder HiFi Assembly too.
 Primers Development:
Very efficient in developing primers for virtual PCR. It joins/anneals two oligos together to give rise to double stranded Sequences.
 Virtual PCR and Mutagenesis:
A very interesting feature since Polymerase Chain Reactions can be simulated virtually. It also allows Overlap extension PCR. Mutagenesis occurs via SnapGene. It is Primer-directed Mutagenesis.
 Virtual Enzyme Sets:
This feature saves a lot of time and energy on the user’s end. There are some predefined sets of enzymes that are either provided by the tool developer company or through the virtual cutter.
You can design your own sets of enzymes and use according to the need and save for later use. You can view the details of the enzymes in details. Another beneficial feature is that methyl group is sensitized very quickly. Error rates are particularly low.
 Easy Conversion of File Formats:
Indeed an amazing feature. Easy file conversions among different Software such as- ApE, CLC Bio, Clone Manager, DNA Strider, DNADynamo, DNASIS, DNAssist, DNASTAR Lasergene, GenBank / DDBJ, Geneious, etc.
 Agarose Gel Simulation:
It allows the simulation of Agarose gel, PCR Amplification, Restriction digestion, etc. It is a large collection of MW markers. So before spending your chemical resources in the wet lab experiments, you can give it practice on SnapGene.
 Translations into Proteins:
A much needed tool for executing certain time-taking processes. The conversion from DNA to protein and protein to DNA (reverse translate) can be done within a few minutes. View the edited and translated sequences in various modes.
View the Open Reading Frames (ORFs) which are an important part of protein analysis. The whole genome can be translated into protein sequences. You can check and re-check reading frames for any possibility of genetic fusions.
SnapGene tool has been designed in a very simple way. The needs of a pure biological scientist has been kept in mind.
The simple click interface helps in choosing the tools appropriately. The pointer of the mouse can be used to simulate and manipulate the sequences, alternate the codon, add colours, and so on.
Intuitive user interface provides the comfort and ease in using complicated analytical methods.
The entire screen is divided into various sections. There is a separate area to view the executions, area with toolbars and menus to choose from.
Pros of SnapGene
The exceptional features of the software makes it desirable. Some of the advantages include:
- History Tracking- A graphical history of the product can be seen. To detect any recent changes in the DNA or protein sequences, you can use the optional history colors. The “Undo” command is comprehensive.
- Data Management- You can import the common file formats such as annotations and simple notes file. These files can be exported into standard formats. Create new files, share the collection with your group mates. You can share data and even run batch operations.
- Search- Easy search and find options for detecting DNA or Protein sequences. To identify primers and enzymes this option is used.
- Fast and effective performance
- Accurate results
- High citations number
- High confidence and reliability in process
- 30 days free trial available
- SnapGene viewer is available for free
- Supportive technical team
Cons of SnapGene
SnapGene could have been more promising than what it is now. A few disadvantages or loopholes that includes are:
- No evolutionary analysis: SnapGene only performs pairwise sequence alignment and multiple sequence alignment but it doesn’t produce any phylogenetic trees or relationships among the sequences.
- No protein structure analysis: The protein analysis is limited. Only primary sequence analysis can be done. There are no tools for secondary structure prediction or tertiary structure prediction or functional analysis.
- No 3D structure: SnapGene doesn’t produce any 3D structures for visualisation.
- No molecular dynamics study: It doesn’t produce drug libraries nor can any molecular dynamics study be done.
SnapGene has marked its presence in several well-established researches. Some of the esteemed published papers with SnapGene citations and their titles are mentioned below:
- Dna2 nuclease deficiency results in large and complex DNA insertions at chromosomal breaks.
Yu Y, Pham N, Xia B, Papusha A, Wang G, Yan Z, Peng G, Chen K, Ira G.
In this paper, SnapGene was used to map the insertion to chromosome, Ty, rDNA and 2μ plasmid.
- CRISPR-mediated Genome Editing of the Human Fungal Pathogen Candida albicans.
Evans BA, Pickerill ES, Vyas VK, Bernstein DA.
J Vis Exp 2018.
In this research the primers were designed using SnapGene
- Utilization of a Strongly Inducible DDI2 Promoter to Control Gene Expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Lin A, Zeng C, Wang Q, Zhang W, Li M, Hanna M, Xiao W.
Front Microbiol 2018;9:2736.
The diagram below are physical maps of plasmids YCpU-PDDI2 and YEpU-PDDI2. (A) A single-copy plasmid YCpU-PDDI2. (B) A high-copy plasmid YEpU-PDDI2. Functional regions are marked in the inner circle and restriction enzyme recognition sites are marked. The maps were drawn with SnapGene (GSL Biotech LLC)
How Much Does SnapGene Cost?
The pricing plan is fairly simple to understand. It has been categorized into three plans.
1. Student subscription:
This plan is strictly for the Undergraduate students, Graduate students, Postdoctoral fellows, and Medical residents. The cost of the plan is around $149 per year. You can buy this plan online via credit card only. No academic organization should violate this jurisdiction.
2. Academic subscription:
Every academic organization and non-profit organization can buy this subscription. It varies depending upon the number of seats you want to buy. The minimum cost is $295 per year per seat. As you proceed to buy subscription for more number of seats, prices rise. More than 10 seats can be added in a single license.
3. Corporate subscription:
For private and profit organizations, the prices are high. The minimum price for single seat is $1195 per year. As the number of seats increase, the prices increase too. The number of seats can be increased upto your needs.
Some features that comes along the subscription includes:
- Licenses to use SnapGene on Windows, Mac and Linux
- Automatic upgrades, updates and fixes for free during the duration of subscription
- Easy and Online license management system such as- distribution of SnapGene, management of users, activation and deactivation of user seats, and many more
- You can purchase additional seats at any time
- Easy deployment with conventional IT tools for large group of users
- No re-installation or renewal needed
- Boundless technical support for installation, activations and guidance
Windows, macOS, Linux, all these Operating systems support the tool.
The customer support is exceptionally good. For beginners, the tools can be understood clearly via user guide they provide.
The user’s guide is comprehensive and divided into various sections such as- installation, display options, description, panel enzymes, features, primer translations, colours, searching, zooming, single stranded sequences, restriction, cloning and linear ligation, PCR and mutagenesis, Agarose gel simulation, collections, batch operations, electronics laboratory notebooks, command-line interface, importing and exporting of file.
Beside descriptive user guide there are tutorial videos for stepwise understanding of the tool. Videos are made in details. They are short and clear to understand. The step-wise protocol to use a feature of SnapGene makes the user comfortable around the tool.
You can contact the technical support team via email or submitting a request with your query.
The supports team would contact you as soon as possible.
Is SnapGene Worth The Price?
SnapGene is a complete package for basic DNA and protein analysis. It is comparable to many other similar bioinformatics all tools- Geneious, DNASTAR Lasergene, Sequencher, and SeqBuilder Pro etc. The number of features and tools provided here are more and better.
For the amount of services and the reliable results it produces, I think that the tool is worth the price it offers. The student subscription is fair and affordable. However, I feel that the prices could be reduced a little more for students since the corporate and academic prices are already so high.
I think that the features of evolutionary relationships, protein Structure analysis, drug identification and molecular docking should also be included within the same cost.
SnapGene is a wonderful tool that can fulfil the requirements of bioinformatics. It provides several unique and useful applications for DNA and protein analysis. For several years it has served the scientific community with exceptional results and reliable outputs.
Looking at the overall performance of SnapGene, I would recommend you to use SnapGene. I think that the price is affordable and worth the applications and services it provides. Personally I found SnapGene satisfying for the services it provides.
Interestingly, SnapGene is different from other commercial bioinformatics tools because it provides 30 days free trial version. The SnapGene viewer is absolutely free to download and use via providing the email address only.
I also think that the user interface is simple and extra ordinarily designed in a way that users feel comfortable while using it. The facility to access the data from different databases is also commendable.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
It possible to transfer licence to a new computer when my old computer is not working?
Yes is possible to transfer the licence to a new computer. You have to install SnapGene license on your new computer. On the help triangle on the registration window, you will see the instructions for transferring the licence from your old computer to the new computer.
Can I try the demo version of SnapGene?
Yes it is very easy to use the trial version of SnapGene. You can install the software. No payment options would be asked for. Even when you choose not to purchase the files on the software remain accessible and can be used with the free SnapGene viewer.
Does data gets lost after expiration of subscription?
No the data is not lost from the software you can find your files saved on the free SnapGene viewer.
After buying the permanent licence for a year can I delay for purchasing additional updates?
You can delay purchasing additional updates but you will receive the best value by renewing your contract immediately because the price is calculated based on the previous expiration date.