Your colleagues submitted interesting questions during the webinar, “The GeneArt® Online Portal: The most convenient way to order custom DNA services ranging from Gene Synthesis to customized tools for genetic engineering.” We’ve collected and answered them here.

Find the answer quickly by clicking your desired question:

Q: Who can I contact when I am uncertain what to do or when I have a technical problem?

For immediate assistance please contact us by phone at:

Europe: +49 (0)941 942 76-100

North America:: +1-877-720-4363

Or send us an email to geneartsupport@lifetech.com. We will do our best to answer you within 24 hours.

Q: Are there any size limitations for gene constructs in the portal?

The upper length limit for DNA currently is 9kb. There is no lower limit but if your DNA is shorter than 80 base pairs it might get routed into the non-portal process after your order.

Q: How do I upload a larger number of sequences? Is there a bulk import tool?

Please use the Large Order Assistant which is the second right icon of gene synthesis services within the project configurator. This assistant allows easy and efficient set-up of up to 50 gene syntheses, including subcloning and plasmid preparation. When using the large order assistant, (optional) optimization will be processed offline, allowing you to do other work in the meantime.

For projects even larger than that, please use new separate carts.

Q: What is a PO number?

Dealing with PO numbers is standard in many countries but might not be relevant in your case. A PO number is a purchase order number, assigned for accounting purposes. If you are not aware of a required PO number, obviously the purchasing process on your side does not require one. Since the PO number field in the portal is mandatory to be filled during the check-out process, please nevertheless add “.” or your last name here simply for technical reasons.

Q: Is there a template function available or how can I generate a template?

There is no real template function available but you can create templates nevertheless. You need to set-up a project which you want to use as a template. Ideally you do that in a separate project folder. After having created the template project, including all downstream services like subcloning, please go back to the project manager and select “Copy project“ from the menu icon on the right of the project button.

Q: What is the difference between portal optimization and specialist optimization?

The algorithm for both the portal and the specialist optimization is exactly the same, so the portal provides you a top level optimization. The specialist optimization has more flexibility and therefore can realize individual requirements e.g. like a specific GC content. Another use case for specialist optimization can be a requirement for a specific codon usage which is not available in the portal.

Q: How can I track the progress of my project(s) once they are ordered?

Please note that on top of the portal view you can select three different tabs. Switch from the “My Projects” tab to “My GeneObserver™” tab to get to our online tracking tool for project status and finalization.

Q: Do I have a chance to import sequences from elsewhere, meaning different sources?

Q: Can I do Gateway™ cloning (BP reaction) and pDEST recombination (LR reaction)?

Yes you can. First, your gene needs to encode flanking attachment (attB) sites. You can easily add them in the gene synthesis “Edit Sequence” tab. Select the 5’ respectively 3’ cloning site menu items on the left and the “Add new cloning site / UTR” tab there. The attB1 and attB2 sites are available in the dropdown list.

Add a subcloning service to your set-up as soon as the gene is finalized. To create an entry clone (BP reaction) just choose pDONR221 or pDONR Zeo at the end of the selectable vector list. The in silico cloning will start. At the same time it will generate a subcloning tick box at the bottom of the subcloning view. Tick to add a second subcloning then “Save & Close”. A second subcloning icon will now be added in the project configurator view, exclusively for pDEST cloning (LR reaction). The vector list now will only show Gateway™ destination vectors.

Q: Does the portal support cloning into my individual vector?

Q: How can I check the price for my project?

The GeneArt® portal is only one part of the ordering process, basically covering the project set-up and handling. The entire process is bipartite including the following steps:

Portal = Project Manager -> Project Configurator -> Project Summary -> Ecommerce = Cart -> Shipping & Payment -> Review Order -> Order Confirmation

For viewing your individual price, please go to the Project Summary and use the “Add to cart” button there. The cart view will list all project items together with price. At the bottom, the cart will show the estimated processing time for the entire project.

Q: I want to test the portal but do not want to start an unwanted order. Which step or button do I need to avoid since it will ultimately trigger an order?

Please note that you need to get as far as to the “Review Order” step during the Checkout process where pushing the “Place my order >” button will trigger an online order.

Q: Where do I see the processing time of my project?

The estimated processing time for the entire project and also the price will show in the cart. Please choose “add to cart” on the summary page to get there. This will not initiate your order. You easily can get back to your project setup either by using the view button, which does not allow any further edits or by using the edit button.

Q: I want to order more than one different genes. Can I group them into one order?

Yes- You can add more than one gene to one order. When adding the first gene this will generate a so-called “process”. A process covers one gene with all downstream services you have added. You can add further processes including gene synthesis and downstream services according to your needs and order them all within one order and cart. If you have larger numbers of genes and services please check our large order assistant for efficient project setup of up to 50 genes.

Q: Can I create a quote before ordering, e.g. to show my purchasing department for approval?

Yes you can. Please go to project summary and from there to the cart. The cart view will top right show a cart summary. There, on the bottom you will find the “Generate web quote” button.

Q: I applied a service icon that did not open an online form but opened a link to an Excel request form. Why is that and what do I need to do?

Some services require too complex information which an automated portal is not able to handle. Since we want to provide a single point of ordering nevertheless, we added the icon based request forms. You can download them to provide your project information and either upload them again via the portal or send them by email to our support team geneart.support@lifetech.com for further processing your request.

Q: The portal does not allow me immediate ordering since the “add to cart” button is greyed out. What do I need to do?

Most likely an information or validation of a service is missing. Please use the back button to get back to the project configurator and check whether all service icons are showing green signs for successful validation. If you see a red exclamation mark you either need to add information for that service or in rare instances you just need to open the service and “Save & Close” again for validation without further edits.

Q: The portal does not allow me immediate ordering (add to cart) but asks me to send my draft project for specialist review. Why is this required?

There are very rare but important instances, where an automated function is not able to decide on a finding that is likely to be unwanted by your side. In the project summary you will see a “send for review button” instead of “add to cart”. In that case the order needs to be sent to our specialists to take care before they load it back into the portal for your further processing and ordering.

Q: In the cart I see a position for complex gene synthesis? What does this mean, where does it come from?

Some sequences are more demanding to get produced, e.g. when harboring GC content above 80% or if encoding sequence repeats. We have long term experience in finalizing such constructs with high reliability. Nevertheless the according production protocols require more efforts and material for the entire gene fragment encoding the complex region. In that case the price will include a complexity fee which applies per base pair of the specifically produced complex gene part. Further, the standard processing time will be prolonged to allow a reliable delivery.

If you are seeking for a lower price for such a construct and your construct encodes and ORF you have the option to optimize your reading frame. In the large majority of cases, the optimization will remove the challenging sequence and the complexity service fee will disappear in the cart.

Q: My project required a specialist review and I meanwhile received the response. Now I need to do some adjustments. What needs to be my first step here?

For doing adjustments after having received a response, go to the project manager and choose “Revise” on the project menu. You can open the menu by clicking on the small menu icon on the right of the button.