PerlPrimer - open-source PCR primer design Logo

Please note that no guarantee is made on the reliability of primers made with this software, although primers generated by PerlPrimer for all three forms of PCR have been used successfully in many experiments.

Bug reports, requests for enhancement, patches and queries about the program can be made at the PerlPrimer project page

Download PerlPrimer v1.1.21

PerlPrimer for Microsoft Windows (~3.2Mb)
Windows installer - recommended for Windows users (includes Spidey; does not require the installation of Perl)

PerlPrimer for Debian Linux
(May not be up-to-date for recent releases)

Perlprimer source (.zip archive) (~350Kb)
Perl script for users who already have Perl installed

Perlprimer source (.bz2 archive) (~350Kb)
Perl script as above in a .tar.bz2 archive for Linux, MacOSX and other *nix users

Source installation instructions

Under Microsoft Windows, users should use an application such as 7-zip (open source, freely available), WinZip, or similar to extract the .zip archive.

Users of UNIX-based operating systems can extract .bz2 archives using the tar utility:
$ tar xjvf perlprimer-1.1.21.tar.bz2

For Real-time PCR, the Spidey executable file corresponding to your operating system is required.


If not using the Windows installer version, users need to download and install ActiveState's distribution of Perl 5.8, which includes Perl/Tk (freely available). After installing ActivePerl under Windows, the file "" should run if double-clicked.

General requirements for *nix users

PerlPrimer requires Perl and Perl/Tk to run, and the libwww-perl modules for internet-related activities (including BLAST searches and gene sequence retieval from Ensembl).


Many distributions of Linux/Unix should come with Perl, Perl/Tk and libwww-perl packages. Provided Perl is installed, running PerlPrimer ($ perl [file to open]) will list which modules are not installed and are required. If these are not present in your distribution, please download and install from the links below.

Mac OS X

Although not directly supported, PerlPrimer will work on Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) or later. Users will need an X-server and will need to install Perl/Tk (see below). Madeleine Lemieux has kindly contributed the following instructions for using PerlPrimer under OS-X:
  1. Start with Perl >= 5.8.1.
  2. Install libwww-perl.
  3. Install X11 and XCode from system CDs. XCode provides some of the header files for Perl/Tk.
  4. Install Perl/Tk from CPAN. (see the Modules section below for instructions)
  5. Download the Spidey executable from NCBI and stick it somewhere on the command path (e.g. /usr/local/bin)

    Modules (if required)

    libwww-perl-5.76 (includes HTTP::Request and LWP::UserAgent modules)

    To install, unpack the archive and issue the following commands: perl; make; make install (last step should be performed as root). Any other modules required for the installation of these may be found by searching CPAN.