STRATEGIC FOR BIOTECH COMPANIES (Re: loading gels - what to use?)

Gabriel Dorado bb1dopeg at
Sun Nov 3 15:29:52 EST 1996

"L.T.Hollingsworth" <hollingsworth at> wrote:

>Lab ergonomics is a hot topic today.
>What alternatives are being used to load gels?
>I have seen that ABI has recommended multichannel syringes with the XL
>upgrade to 48 wells.  I'd appreciate hearing about your experience
>using this system.
>We are currently loading 36-well combs on the 377 and 373 with Gilson
>pipets and are finding wrist and fatigue problems...especially by the
>fourth gel of the day.

Here is an idea for BioTech Companies out there to release a new approach
to gel loading and make lots of money. We have a 373Stretch and a 377 from
PE/AB and loading is certainly one of the most tedious steps in "automated"
sequencing (sharks tooth combs) and --mainly-- GeneScan analysis (plain
combs). With the brand new XL upgrades, these problems have become even
more significant. Now, imagine you can develop a new kind of comb. It is
made of a special absorbent material slightly positively charged. It looks
like a standard plain tooth comb, yet you cast the gel as if you were going
to work with a sharks-tooth one. How does it work? You simply add a few
microliters of your denatured sample+formamide to the tip of each plain
tooth, which, absorbs the liquid sample. You do it comfortably at your lab
bench. No more cross-contamination or leakage of samples. No more tedious
and time-consuming loading due to lack of visibility of gel/comb wells
while loading (very significant for GeneScan work). No need for blue
dextran color even. Then you just insert the "loaded" comb into the gel
sandwich, add buffer, and run the electrophoresis. The applied voltage
should be more than enough to drag samples from the slightly positively
charged comb into the gel matrix. There you go !

Please note (PE/AB): this special-material comb, will allow you to produce
combs to load some 100 samples using the same gel width you have now with
373 and 377 models. Thus, even better than the current XL upgrade!
Productivity will increase significantly, and so your competitive profile.

Now, it is just a matter for the R&D Department of BioTech companies
(including PE/ABI !) to search for such "wonder" material. I am sure there
is such a product. Or else you could synthesize and patent it. You see, you
will be able to make money licensing it to... Pharmacia and Li-Cor...  :-)

Hope it becomes true !

G. Dorado
bb1dopeg at

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