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Open Access Software

Windows .NET Network Distributed Basic Local Alignment Search Toolkit (W.ND-BLAST)

Scot E Dowd1*, Joaquin Zaragoza1, Javier R Rodriguez2, Melvin J Oliver2 and Paxton R Payton2

Author Affiliations

1 Livestock Issues Research Unit, Agriculture Research Service, USDA, Lubbock, TX, USA

2 Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Research Unit, Agriculture Research Service, USDA, Lubbock, TX, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:93  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-93

Published: 8 April 2005

Abstract

Background

BLAST is one of the most common and useful tools for Genetic Research. This paper describes a software application we have termed Windows .NET Distributed Basic Local Alignment Search Toolkit (W.ND-BLAST), which enhances the BLAST utility by improving usability, fault recovery, and scalability in a Windows desktop environment. Our goal was to develop an easy to use, fault tolerant, high-throughput BLAST solution that incorporates a comprehensive BLAST result viewer with curation and annotation functionality.

Results

W.ND-BLAST is a comprehensive Windows-based software toolkit that targets researchers, including those with minimal computer skills, and provides the ability increase the performance of BLAST by distributing BLAST queries to any number of Windows based machines across local area networks (LAN). W.ND-BLAST provides intuitive Graphic User Interfaces (GUI) for BLAST database creation, BLAST execution, BLAST output evaluation and BLAST result exportation. This software also provides several layers of fault tolerance and fault recovery to prevent loss of data if nodes or master machines fail. This paper lays out the functionality of W.ND-BLAST. W.ND-BLAST displays close to 100% performance efficiency when distributing tasks to 12 remote computers of the same performance class. A high throughput BLAST job which took 662.68 minutes (11 hours) on one average machine was completed in 44.97 minutes when distributed to 17 nodes, which included lower performance class machines. Finally, there is a comprehensive high-throughput BLAST Output Viewer (BOV) and Annotation Engine components, which provides comprehensive exportation of BLAST hits to text files, annotated fasta files, tables, or association files.

Conclusion

W.ND-BLAST provides an interactive tool that allows scientists to easily utilizing their available computing resources for high throughput and comprehensive sequence analyses. The install package for W.ND-BLAST is freely downloadable from http://liru.ars.usda.gov/mainbioinformatics.html webcite. With registration the software is free, installation, networking, and usage instructions are provided as well as a support forum.