Automated DNA Sequencing

Thu Jan 9 08:25:00 EST 1992

Like many laboratories, the one I work in is considering the purchase of an
automated DNA sequencer. The ones we are looking at are the ABI and Pharmacia
machines. Our lab consists of several hundred scientists, of whom perhaps
thirty will be actively sequencing at one time. If we purchased a machine I can
envisage that most of the active sequencers will want to get their hands on it.
My personal feeling is that the more people using a machine the higher the
probability that things will go wrong. Anyway, I would be interested in users
replies to the following:
1. Should such a machine have one trained person with "hands on" access, or can
it be used in a multi-user environment without too many maintenance problems?
2. What is the real throughput of these machines? I guess for the ABI machine
it is two runs per day, but can one use ultrathin gels with the Pharmacia
machine and do multiple runs per day? If so, how many runs and with how many
accurate base-calls per run?
3. I guess that, considering the short time these machines have been around,
there is no definitive "answer" to the question - but - if you have used both
machines for sufficient time to be sure of the answer, which is the better
Thanks for any help you can give,

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