GenoCAD Source Code Licensed to ISCB
Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, an affiliated corporation of Virginia Tech, announced that it has licensed the source code of GenoCAD, a web-based computer assisted design environment for synthetic biology, to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). This agreement will facilitate the open source development of GenoCAD by the synthetic biology community.
GenoCAD, which can be regarded as one of the first computer assisted design systems for synthetic DNA sequences, provides a sequence builder function that guides users through the process of designing a new genetic construct from a database of standard genetic parts. The open source development of GenoCAD is hosted on SourceForge.
“Our initial vision for GenoCAD was to develop a Web site allowing users to design synthetic genetic systems for biological research or product development programs,” said Jean Peccoud, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech. “GenoCAD has become an open-source software development project after many users expressed a strong interest for installing GenoCAD on their own servers.” He added: “The partnership with the ISCB provides a framework allowing developers from different institutions to collaborate toward the development of a common code base without having to worry about intellectual property issues.”
Virginia Tech and ISCB have jointly determined that the system of licensing agreements developed by the Apache Software Foundation provides a suitable framework to distribute software, accept regular contributions from individuals and corporations, and to accept larger grants of existing software like GenoCAD. The licensing announcement was made at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing.
“Open source licensing is an integral part of our technology transfer strategy for pre-competitive software projects,” said John Geikler, Senior Licensing Associate with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties. “The partnership with ISCB allows contributors to retain full rights of use for their software while providing the scientific community, represented by ISCB, an irrevocable right to distribute and build upon an open source code.”
Scott Markel, ISCB Vice President and Chair of the Publications Committee, remarked: “We are extremely pleased to enter into what we see as a first-of-kind relationship between our organization and academic institutions looking to galvanize a user and development community for open source bioinformatics software. This type of activity fits closely with the mandates of ISCB to facilitate the dissemination of computational biology tools and develop a strong computational biology community.”