MoClo Planner: Interactive Visualization for Modular Cloning Bio-Design

Orit Shaer, Consuelo Valdes, Sirui Liu, Kara Lu, Traci Haddock, Swapnil Bhatia, Douglas Densmore, Robert Kincaid

MoClo Planner is an interactive visualization system for collaborative bio-design, utilizing a multi-touch interactive surface. The system integrates the information gathering, design, and specification of complex synthetic biological constructs using the Modular Cloning (MoClo) assembly method. Modular Cloning is a hierarchical DNA construction method that allows for the assembly of multi-part constructs from a library of biological parts in a one-pot reaction. This cutting-edge method facilitates and expedites the assembly of complex biological designs. However, it is an intricate multi-step process, which to date, has not been adequately supported by existing bio-design tools. Novel visual tools are needed in order to make MoClo more tractable and accessible to a broad range of users, to facilitate a less error prone bio-design process, and to improve workflow. MoClo Planner is a result of a participatory and user-centered design process, which included close collaboration with domain experts. Using multi-touch interactions and a rich graphical interface, the system accelerates the MoClo learning process, and reduces design time and errors. In this paper, we present user requirements and describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of MoClo Planner.