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In four-color fluorescence-based automated DNA sequencing, a 4×4 filter matrix parameterizes the relationship between the dye-intensity signals of interest and the data collected by an optical imaging system. The filter matrix is important because the estimated DNA sequence is based on the dye intensities that can only be recovered via inversion of the matrix. Here, the authors present a calibration method for the estimation of the columns of this matrix, using data generated through a special experiment in which DNA samples are labeled with only one fluorescent dye at a time. Simulations and applications of the method to real data are provided, with promising results.