Kit or No Kit (Re: Oligo precipitation)

Cecil Chen LabMed cecil at
Wed Jun 3 12:15:21 EST 1992

In article <1992Jun2.201819.3023 at> num208jn at MBDS.NRC.CA writes:
>In article <1992Jun1.214109.3405 at>, jgraham at (the End) writes:
>>[stuff deleted]                   
>>Note: I'm amazed at how many people have responded to my questions
>>with experiences with various commercial "kits". I hope this expensive
>>trend does not continue, as it takes the procedure out of the users
>>hands. It also has the effect of reducing the free flow of technical
>>information between researchers. They might be nice to try but we do
>>not use any commercially available kits or "mystery coumns" on a
>>routine basis.
>[some stuff deleted]
>I disagree with the ** NO KITS ** philosophy as much as I disagree
>with the ** IT'S A KIT - LET'S BUY IT ** philosophy, and I think I'd
>dismiss blanket statements that like they have "the  effect of
>reducing the free flow of technical information between researchers"
>as a gross generalisation... although the Taq polymerase story might
>make me change my mind!
>"Reasonable cost is interchangeable with reasonable timesaving" is
>more like it!
>John Nash     (Internet:) Nash at  
>Email to my other addresses is forwarded automatically,
>Disclaimer:  All opinions are mine, not NRC's!

i agree with john nash. there are lots of junk kits available commercially 
that are completely unnessary other than the convenience of premade
buffers etc (e.g. tailing kits, m13 cloning kits etc.).  but there are
kits that simply make my life much easier.  i started using Qiagen DNA
columns to purify ssDNA instead of repeated phenol/chloroform extractions.
i am *not* going back to the old procedure just because i am dealing with
some mysterious column.  the time i saved (=$) is more than offset the cost
of the kit.  Genius non-radioactive labeling and detection kit is certain
useful as well.  like john said, some kits are good, some are bad. one needs
to decide which are worthwhile and which are "quacks".

however, i do share the sentiment expressed by the original poster that
routine use of kits can turn people into "cooks" (ie protocol-following
droids) rather than scientists.  i have seen more than several graduate
students who have used kits many times, and have no clues on the principles 
of the methods employed in those kits.  or they don't even know the
ingredients of the components, other than "buffer #1".  one time i asked
the grad student next door if i can borrow some random primers for 
labeling probes, and she had this puzzled look on her face, until i said,
"hmmm, i mean Genius tube #6." her face then lit up like a christmas
tree, and replied "we certainly have Genius tube #6!" :(
the judgment which are worthwhile and which are "quacks".

just my $.02 worth of opinion.

cecil chen
cecil at

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