Thursday, February 14, 2013

A valentine to the Applied Biosystems Veriti® Thermal Cycler

I can grow very attached to PCR machines. A large part of my undergraduate thesis revolved around running PCRs on Applied Biosystems machines and I was trained from a very young age to be very picky about where I put my reactions. After a few years of struggling with the lack of reliability and availability of the Bio-Rad Tetrads® we have in my post-doc lab, I just bought a couple of Applied Biosystems Veriti® Thermal Cyclers from Life Technologies. Granted it's just been a week and I'm still in that happy and dazed phase, but I can barely contain my excitement.

You know how as a child you see things adults have, and as a grown-up you buy the same things so that you feel like an adult? PCR machines are it for me: a lab is not a lab without one. We demoed a Veriti® last Fall and really liked it, then got an offer that we couldn't refuse with a bonus on the 2-for-1 end-of-year special, which made them really affordable.

What is so special? Well, first of all, as you can find in a handy video here, the Veriti® is really easy to use, you plug it in and 5 minutes later you are running your samples. The interface is completely intuitive and the touchscreen is very responsive. THEN, with the VeriFlex™ block you can use 6 separate temperatures for two 8-well strips at a time. This means not only that you can run a precise gradient to test your conditions, but also that you can run multiple reactions at different melting temperatures as long as the extension is the same. We tried both these things with our very difficult genotyping reaction and I almost wanted to cry it was so beautiful. We ran both the wild-type and knock-out reactions on the same block with a 50 and a 58 degree melting temp at each end and everything worked. Since some of our more complex breeding needs up to 4 different PCRs to capture all the alleles, we would be able to run everything at the same time on 1 or 2 machines. We have not tested neighboring strips yet for consistency and interference. They claim you can do completely different temperatures, but we just built a consecutive step gradient and used opposite ends so far.

Finally, apparently you can plug the machine into the Internet and there is software available so that you can run it remotely or have it send you an email when the reaction is done. This is a little creepy. I'm not sure I want a thermocycler to have that much control over my life, but it could be a handy feature if you are doing a lot of things and tend to forget, or if you're going out for dinner and want to know when to get back to the lab. Though I think the 4-10 degree hold should be sufficient for that...DNA is pretty stable....

Remember to look at the Lab-things we like page for more products and reviews.

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