Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How old can a PCR machine be whilst still being useful?

PCR was invented way back in 1985 and the first thermo-cyclers were released in

Before this PCRs were done in tubes placed in separate water-baths. Polymerase was also added at each new cycle until someone worked out that Taq (discovered in 1976 by University of Cincinnati researcher Alic Chien) might be a good alternative for the standard DNA polymerase. The first PCR machine was produced by Cetus in 1988 called "Mr Cycle" but required the use of fresh enzyme after each cycle. In 1998 Perkin Elmer released the first automated thermal-cycler that all instruments we know and love today are based on.

My Cycle
You can see some really old instruments on the LifeTechnologies website, where they are giving away a free Veriti PCR machine for entrants into their competition. You can see old Hybaid, MJR, Perkin Elmer and other instruments. Look hard for the one you first used, mine was the MJR PTC-100. Work got a lot easier with the release of the Tetrad machines because fights no longer broke out over who had/not booked the machine before going home!
Screenshot from Life Tech competition website

PS: If you fancy running 230,400 PCRs in one go give the Soellex a try. A water-bath PCR machine that hod 600 384 well plates.

1 comment:

  1. I used to use a waterbath PCR machine back when I used to to alellic discrimination by FRET (TaqMan). 150 x 384 well plates in one go.
    We'd even do one plate at time in them as the waterbath method is actually far superior to a thermal block. The ramp times between denature/anneal/extend are only couple of seconds so it left less opportunity for strange things to happen.

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