GrinGene Bioinformatics is a sole-trader business (owned/operated by me, David Eccles) based in Wellington, New Zealand. GrinGene specialises in improving the interface between researchers and computer programs. The idea of the business developed from part-time bioinformatics work carried out for Environmental Science and Research from 2005 onwards, with the name officially used from 2012.

The business provides semi-regular bioinformatics services for many different researchers throughout the world, primarily through voluntary participation in online bioinformatics communities, but also as contracted services for clients. Past clients have included research institutes in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and USA.

Name Origin

My on-line identity (handle) was (and still is) "gringer", a name derived from a mis-hearing of the name of He-Man's cat, Cringer. When this name was first conceived (in 1996), I felt that this name represented my personality: a shy, non-confrontational person with an appreciation of sleep, but the hidden potential to do battle when needed. The primary activities of my professional work involved genetics, so a simple shift from "gringer" to "gringene" was an obvious choice for a business name. I'm still not sure how I should be approaching capitalisation of the name. My personal preference is for it to all be lower case, but this leads to mispronounciation, hence my current compromise of title case as "GrinGene".


The GrinGene logo combines bioinformatics concepts together with the face of a Cheshire Cat, visually representing the phrase, "Computational efficiency that keeps you smiling."

The pupils in the eyes are vertically slitted (like a cat), but also represent the numbers 1 and 0: the only two numbers used in binary numerical representations of computer code. Surrounding each eye are 22 alternating patches of light and dark blue, and one green, representing the 22 autosomal chromosomes in human nuclear DNA together with one sex chromosome. The arc length of each chromosome is in proportion to the chromosome sequence length (in base pairs) in the human genome. The right-hand eye has a smaller green chromosome; both eyes combined contain an XY sex chromosome pair.

The nose in the middle of the logo is an equilateral salmon triangle, representing both a cat's nose and an indicator arrow, pointing to an interesting genetic feature.

The bottom wide-grinned smile is formed from a curved symbolic representation of a DNA sequence, with two backbones coiled up into a double helix, and coloured linked representing the four different bases of DNA using the colours from Sanger sequencing traces: Adenine (green), Cytosine (blue), Guanine (yellow), and Thymine (red). One of the strands, when translated into an amino acid peptide sequence using single-letter symbols, forms a repeated pattern of GRINGENE.


The font used on this website is one that I have designed myself, and is based around how I print letters when I am writing on paper. It has been designed such that all letters are distinct on rotation and reflection (e.g. compare 'p', 'b', 'd', and 'q'), and for numbers to be equal-width so that they are easier to line up when displayed in a tabular form. The font has rounded ends on all letter strokes (zoom in to see this), but mitered edges for intersecting straight lines.

I call the font "Pointilised" because the first version of the font was originally designed in OpenSCAD to allow me to write text onto curved surfaces of 3D objects. The issue with doing this using most fonts is that straight lines are usually only represented as two points (i.e. a start and end point), and representing only those two points on a curved surface means that the font won't properly follow the surface contours. By "pointilising" the lines, and exposing those points to the modeler, the font can be fitted to complex structures (as long as those structures can be mathematically described in a point transformation function). By defining the font parametrically, I was able to create letter variations of differing thickness using the same basic formula, and create automatic kerning shadows for all letters. This means that updating the font to accomodate new glyphs, or to used different font weights, is a relatively simple and quick process.

Feel free to use this font for your own creative works. You can find a downloadable truetype version of the font here.