Microsoft Biology Foundation Evolves into New Toolkit: .NET Bio
The Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) has undergone a significant transformation since it was first released. Over time, it’s become clear that a new name was also in order. So today, I am pleased to announce that MBF will now be known as .NET Bio. In addition to the new name, .NET Bio will also have a new location: the Outercurve Foundation. This move is the next logical step in the life of the project: transferring its ownership to a nonprofit foundation that is dedicated to open-source software underscores our community-led philosophy; while Microsoft will continue to contribute to the code, it will do so as one among a growing community of users and contributors.
About .NET Bio
.NET Bio is a bioinformatics toolkit that was built using the Microsoft 4.0 .NET Framework. It is designed for use by developers, researchers, and scientists, making it simpler to build applications to meet the needs of life scientists. This open-source platform features a library of commonly used bioinformatics functions plus applications built upon that framework, and can be extended by using any Microsoft .NET language, including C#, F#, Visual Basic .NET, and IronPython.
Users can perform a range of tasks with .NET Bio, including:
- Importing DNA, RNA, or protein sequences from files with a variety of standard data formats, including FASTA, FASTQ, GFF, GenBank, and BED.
- Constructing sequences from scratch.
- Manipulating sequences in various ways, such as adding or removing elements or generating a complement.
- Analyzing sequences by using algorithms such as Smith-Waterman and Needleman-Wunsch.
- Submitting sequence data to remote websites (for example, a Basic Local Alignment Search Tool [BLAST] website) for analysis.
- Outputting sequence data in any supported file format, regardless of the input format.
Like other frameworks (for example, BioJava and BioPython), .NET Bio can help reduce the level of effort that is required to implement bioinformatics applications through the provision of a range of pre-written functionality.
In addition to enhancements to the performance and capacity of the basic features contained in the previous version, the new version will provide a range of new features and demo applications. This includes:
- Access to advanced math functions by using Sho scripting
- A comparative DNA sequence assembler sample application
- A range of command-line utilities
.NET Bio is now in use by both academic and commercial organizations—including Microsoft—worldwide.
—Simon Mercer, Director of Health of Wellbeing, Microsoft Research Connections