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Zurich, Switzerland, 1 July 2002 – Many molecular biology techniques depend heavily on the isolation, purification, amplification and analysis of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA). The modern laboratory is host to diverse technologies, methods and instruments needed to perform these procedures. However, most of the techniques currently in use were developed as manual low throughput procedures. To bridge the gap between the needs of researchers in terms of throughput and the desire for high quality results, Tecan has put together a wide range of systems and solutions.
Jan Timmers, Head of the Business Area Biopharma at Tecan, remarked: “ One of the goals of Tecan is to provide complete solutions that meet the needs of our customers in the Life Sciences. For PCR, sequencing and genotyping, Tecan has now put together a full range of robust systems that can deliver automation to many of the commonly used molecular biology techniques in genomics.”
These solutions include nucleic acid sample preparation suites and, for high performance automated PCR and sequencing reactions, nucleic acid reaction suites.
Nucleic acid sample preparation suite
Nucleic acid extraction systems. To meet the needs of researchers in the preparation of, for example, plasmid or genomic DNA, Tecan offers a number of automated systems of different sizes, scale and capacity. These systems allow for the purification of nucleic acid in sufficient quantity and quality for subsequent use in amplification or analytical steps. Tecan provides a range of systems to meet the different needs in terms of scale for the end user. These range from smaller-scale solutions based on the MiniPrep series of liquid handlers (60- or 75-cm deck size) and larger nucleic acid preparation workstations all the way up to the fully automated TRAC (Tecan Robotic Assay Composer) systems for high throughput applications.
These systems fully support the different purification procedures needed for different types of nucleic acid samples. For example, Tecan systems may include options for vacuum/solid phase extraction (SPE) modules (Te-VacS), magnetic bead separation modules (Te-MagS) or the integration of a centrifuge (Centrifuge option on the Genesis Freedom). Tecan’s liquid handling platforms are fully capable of handling tube-to-plate transfers and the many aqueous and organic solvents typically used in nucleic acid extraction procedures. Different types of commercially available kits for nucleic acid preparation may be integrated into these automated systems including those from many leading suppliers.
Nucleic acid quantitation systems. Quantitation is an essential component of all molecular biology procedures. Accordingly, Tecan offers a wide variety of detection devices for nucleic acid quantitation. For ultraviolet absorbance quantitation and testing purity, Tecan provides either the SpectraFluor Plus or GENios plate reader systems. Both of these instruments also offer advanced fluorescent measurement possibilities for nucleic acid measurements and are easily integrated into the different liquid handling systems available from Tecan.
Nucleic acid reaction suite – high performance PCR and sequencing reaction systems
As for the nucleic acid sample preparation suite, Tecan provides a full range of systems to support automated PCR and sequencing reactions. These integrated solutions range from the smaller MiniPrep systems through to workstations and the larger TRAC-based fully automated systems. To meet the many requirements of researchers for PCR, Tecan has assembled systems to support PCR sample preparation, the PCR reaction itself, and the subsequent cleanup of PCR products. For DNA sequencing reactions, Tecan systems are able to accurately handle all the necessary reagents and probes required for typical sequencing reactions (for example, dideoxynucleotide sequencing or chain termination methods, Maxam & Gilbert).
Allison Halleck, Principal Engineer of the Institute of Proteomics at Harvard Medical School, commented: “We have been using Tecan’s automated solutions for nucleic acid sample preparation, gel loading, and culture plating in our facility for 3 years. Tecan’s automated systems for these operations have offered us the throughput we needed to deliver the quantity and quality of product required for the success of our project.”
By delivering reliability, flexibility and quality of results, Tecan’s automated solutions for nucleic acid sample preparation, PCR and sequencing are capable of performing most of the diverse molecular biology procedures needed to work with nucleic acids.
Tecan (www.tecan.com) is a leading player in the fast growing Life Sciences supply industry that specializes in the development, production, and distribution of solutions enabling the discovery of pharmaceutical substances, as well as for genomics, proteomics, and diagnostics. Tecan clients are leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, university research departments and diagnostic laboratories. Founded in Switzerland in 1980, the company has manufacturing, research and development sites in both North America and Europe and maintains a sales and service network in 52 countries. In 2001, Tecan achieved sales of CH 361.9 million (USD 214.1 million; EUR 239.6 million). Registered shares of Tecan Group are traded on the Swiss SWX stock exchange (TK: TECN / Reuters: TECZn.S / Valor : 1210019).
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