Analysis of In Vitro Aptamer Selection Parameters

Maureen McKeague, Erin M. McConnell, Jose Cruz-Toledo, Elyse D. Bernard, Amanda Pach, Emily Mastronardi, Xueru Zhang, Michael Beking, Tariq Francis, Amanda Giamberardino, Ashley Cabecinha, Annamaria Ruscito, Rocio Aranda-Rodriguez, Michel Dumontier*, Maria C. DeRosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nucleic acid aptamers are novel molecular recognition tools that offer many advantages compared to their antibody and peptide-based counterparts. However, challenges associated with in vitro selection, characterization, and validation have limited their wide-spread use in the fields of diagnostics and therapeutics. Here, we extracted detailed information about aptamer selection experiments housed in the Aptamer Base, spanning over two decades, to perform the first parameter analysis of conditions used to identify and isolate aptamers de novo. We used information from 492 published SELEX experiments and studied the relationships between the nucleic acid library, target choice, selection methods, experimental conditions, and the affinity of the resulting aptamer candidates. Our findings highlight that the choice of target and selection template made the largest and most significant impact on the success of a de novo aptamer selection. Our results further emphasize the need for improved documentation and more thorough experimentation of SELEX criteria to determine their correlation with SELEX success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aptamer
  • In vitro selection
  • Aptamer target
  • Database

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