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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Designing multiple degenerate primers via consecutive pairwise alignments

Hamed Shateri Najafabadi12, Noorossadat Torabi13 and Mahmood Chamankhah4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biotechnology, University of Tehran, Enghelab Ave., Tehran, Iran

2 Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada

3 Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, One Clio Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

4 Nanobiotechnology Research Center, Avesina Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Evin Ave., Tehran, Iran

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-55

Published: 27 January 2008



Different algorithms have been proposed to solve various versions of degenerate primer design problem. For one of the most general cases, multiple degenerate primer design problem, very few algorithms exist, none of them satisfying the criterion of designing low number of primers that cover high number of sequences. Besides, the present algorithms require high computation capacity and running time.


PAMPS, the method presented in this work, usually results in a 30% reduction in the number of degenerate primers required to cover all sequences, compared to the previous algorithms. In addition, PAMPS runs up to 3500 times faster.


Due to small running time, using PAMPS allows designing degenerate primers for huge numbers of sequences. In addition, it results in fewer primers which reduces the synthesis costs and improves the amplification sensitivity.