Thursday 31 December 2015

Christmas in the Core and a New Years perspective on NGS genomics

Christmas came a little early to my lab with the delivery of two new HiSeq 4000 instruments. It would have been nice if these had come gift wrapped as it is the Christmas season, but alas no. Perhaps next year Illumina can get a little more into the Christmas spirit? I recently contributed to a 2015 review by GenomeWeb and thought I'd give a more in depth view of 2015, and what might be coming in 2016, from my perspective.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Can't find your primers? Don't bother looking!

PCR primers have become so cheap we had a discussion in the lab today about whether we should simply reorder, rather than try to find some old ones that weren't where we thought they were! This rather glib suggestion made me think about how long I should look before giving up and simply reordering.

At around £0.10 to £0.25 pence per base a pair of PCR primers will set you back £5-10. A post-doc salary is about £16 per hour based on the average salary of about £30,000 per year. So if you can't find your primers in about twenty minutes, give up, place a new order and wait till they arrive.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

BBC gender equality issues: how do women in science fare?

As part of the BBC's 100 Women Season, they've been putting up some content that allows you to see how equally different countries treat men and women. One of these is the gender equality calculator and according to the Beeb "the UK is among the most gender equal countries in the world". It ranks 18/145 with Iceland top of the league, and Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland occupying the rest of the top 5. I was interested to see how equally men and women fared in the sciences, and there is near parity in the numbers graduating from University. However the figures are not so great if you dig into some of the source data...

Thursday 3 December 2015

Programmable PCR from GNAcode

Fancy being able to run 16 PCR programs simultaneously? The new MiniCube PCR machine from GNAcode does just that. Add qPCR functionality and this machine might improve NGS library prep.