Automatic analysis of agarose gel images
Jonathan Flint P. S. Umesh Adiga A. Bhomra M. G. Turri A. Nicod S. R. Datta Peter Jeavons Richard Mott
Motivation: Automatic tools to speed up routine biological processes are very much sought after in bio-medical research. Much repetitive work in molecular biology, such as allele calling in genetic analysis, can be made semi-automatic or task specific automatic by using existing techniques from computer science and signal processing. Computerized analysis is reproducible and avoids various forms of human error. Semi-automatic techniques with an interactive check on the results speed up the analysis and reduce the error. Results: We have successfully implemented an image processing software package to automatically analyze agarose gel images of polymorphic DNA markers. We have obtained up to 90% accuracy for the classification of alleles in good quality images and up to 70% accuracy in average quality images. These results are obtained within a few seconds. Even after subsequent interactive checking to increase the accuracy of allele classification to 100%, the overall speed with which the data can be processed is greatly increased, compared to manual allele classification.