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

Alexander Kraev kraev at
Mon Nov 4 10:49:31 EST 1996

In article <55ivc0$n4a at>, Gabriel Dorado <bb1dopeg at> wrote:

> "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

> 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...  :-)

Uhu, it is exactly what I have been experimenting with lately on a LI-COR
 I have got some cellulose acetate samples from Scheicher-Schuell and made
combs from
them. Now, I realize it is not a work for person in my position. You need to try
many types of material, cut combs with small wells manually, etc etc.
However,  I found that one can add something into the reaction ( before
cycling) to make it loadable
 and, in fact,  cycle sequencing reaction does not need any formamide ( I
checked it,
although not with thousands of samples). Cycling in 10%  DMSO plus cresol red
should make it,  for example. You just need to make a special PCR
tube/capillary that
you discharge right onto the gel... :-)
 It is not the reason for joking, since it is the gel loading  and well
tracking that
 makes "automatic" sequencing only "automated", not more.  And indeed it would
be advantageous for machines like LI-COR or ALF, since PE already sells
Prism 310
which loads automatically, only charges 20 Francs for every reaction...

Happy loading, the 8-channel syringe is not too bad  for the moment.

Alexander Kraev, PhD
Biochemie III, ETHZ Zurich
Phone 41-1-632-31-47
Fax 41-1-632-12-13
e-mail kraev at

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