A nice tool for work flow based automated analysis of patient samples on CGH micro array platform. Writing this review as I have extensively worked on this tool on a daily-basis.
1. User friendliness:
A moderate amount of video tutorials are available for the first time users which can be found here:
Though it takes some time to get familiar with the basics, a good hands on for few days is enough to get started. The analysis wizards are quite intuitive in terms of what input files and parameters will be required. Visualization and interpretation requires a good knowledge of CGH micro array analysis.
2. Level of automation:
A good level of automation could be achieved wherein the samples being directly scanned via micro array scanners could be directed to be analysed as they are available to the software. Pre-defined analysis methods are available for a quick analysis and visualization and later users can modify the params accordingly. Multiple samples can be analysed at once and reports could be generated in fairly automated manner.
3. Ease of installation and up gradation:
This tool is supported on variety of windows versions and mac. A dedicated development team is always trying to launch new versions supported on latest versions of mac and windows. The memory requirements and storage capacities are high and hence require fairly high end PC's. Data backup is an issue and many a time it is very difficult to reload previously analysed samples. Up gradation is user friendly, and is also assisted sometimes by the development team or the Agilent software support team.
4. Support for non-Agilent samples:
The software comes bundled with another tool called "Agilent Feature Extraction" which extracts the signals into human readable raw data. Some of the versions support extraction and analysis of non-Agilent arrays like that of Illumina. However, it is recommended exclusively for analysis of Agilent microarray CGH and CGH+SNP arrays.
5. Data Administration:
Standard level of administrative roles are available to be assigned to a large/small team wherein each member designated for particular task can have their own set of functionalities. for e.g. the admin can define the scope of activities for a "technician" or "scientist" wherein say the technician cannot sign off a sample, whereas the scientist can. The administrator has all roles of a technician and scientist along with full database control access; he/she can also change the roles.
6. Data analysis and visualization:
This software supports detecting copy number changes (CNCs), copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity (LOH), and uniparental disomy (UPD) SurePrint G3 CGH+SNP microarrays. Visualization is fairly easy for a person with moderate knowledge of working with computers. However, the software as they say is only meant for research purposes (not diagnosis). That being said, a good knowledge of the underlying biology is must to interpret the results. Assistance is available via webinars and a technical team.
7. Extent of customization:
Advertised a one stop solution, the software is quite customizable in terms of preparing customized analysis methods (tweaking the parameters) and the final reports including options for sections, headers footers and image logo.
8. Support and development:
Extensive development is being done and new versions are available on regular intervals with bug fixes. 24X5 support is available by phone and email.
- Fairly easy usage
- good visualisation
- moderate customisation
- 24 X 5 support service
- not suitable / recommended for diagnostic purposes
- high end pc requirements, large memory consumptions
- difficult to backup data and restore
- reverse compatibility is not good