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A unique, and very useful feature in GCK is called 'Chronography.' This feature allows a user to keep track of construct history as well as to store different views of the same sequence in a single file. Although one will be seeing different graphics on screen, there is only a single sequence in each construct file. Users can create up to 32,000 generations for any construct - making it virtually limitless. A user might choose to store a generation of a construct displaying restriction sites, another generation could be defined for the coding regions, another the transcripts, and yet a fourth generation might show the sources of each DNA in the construct. The ability to show any generation for any segment and to mix generations in viewing the same construct, provides a great deal of flexibility in displaying the information that is part of the construct while at the same time providing a natural way to keep track of the history of complex constructions. One never loses track of where a specific piece of DNA came from since previous generations of that segment are always available for viewing through chronography. When copying and pasting, the different chronography generations are copied along with the sequence itself. Chronography allows the flexibility of displaying the same sequence in a number of ways to bring out key features.

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GCK also offers a flexible "Comment" field, which can be attached to any object that is part of a construct: DNA segments, marked sites, regions, or even the whole construct. Up to 32,000 characters may be stored in each comment field. Comments (which can be searched for key words within the Gene Construction Kit and by the Search Files function) can store literature references, growth conditions, storage locations, or other pertinent information about the construct and can function as an electronic database.

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file searching

Gene Construction Kit software offers database-like capabilities without the hardware and expense requirements of additional software. A sophisticated Search Files feature allows construct files created by GCK to be searched for matches with key words in comments or DNA sequences. File searching can simplify management of a large collection of constructs. By placing storage locations in the comments of constructs, for example, inventories can be kept (e.g. file searching could provide a list of all constructs in the freezer in Room 318). File searching can also help users identify all constructs in a collection that contain specific promoters, enhancers, or even specific gene sequences. By searching for a sequence, all constructs containing a specific sequence can be found. Searching is straightforward - a directory (folder or external drive) to be searched is chosen, and search criteria are entered. Multiple text and DNA search terms can be entered, with different combinations of Boolean operators defined (and, or, not; contains/doesn't contain) to return specific constructs (e.g. find all constructs in freezer 8, room 212, that contain both ampicillin and tetracycline resistance gene sequences).

When users are conscientious about entering comments for GCK files created - file searching becomes a very powerful feature that can help manage inventories on site. If GCK construct files are stored on a common file server - then all members of an organization can quickly identify useful constructs, and know exactly where the samples are stored.

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