Automated Sequencer

Lawrence Washington lwashing at
Thu Dec 15 15:38:21 EST 1994

In article <3cn8p5$nfv at>, Erdmann Dirk MSM PH225
<dirk.erdmann at chbs-msm1.chbs.MHS.CIBA.COM> wrote:

> Dear Netters,
> our department is going to buy an automated sequencing system. We want to 
> buy either the ABI 373A, the "ALF" from Pharmacia or the Li-Cor 4000. The 
> last one is relatively new on the european market and I know nobody having 
> one.
> Here my question: does anybody know the advantages/disadvantages of the 
> three systems under discussion? I would really appreciate to get a 
> comprehensive comparison of the three systems.
> Thanks a lot.
> Dirk
> Dirk.Erdmann at

Dear Dirk,

   The companies you mentioned will readily send you literature about
their systems on request and (at least here in the States) they are also
happy to send representatives to give presentations and sales pitches. 
With the information the companies give you should be able to put together
a list of pros and cons vis-a-vis your needs.  A year ago we spent a LOT
of time talking with those three companies and it was my experience that
we generally got an honest assessment of the system¹s capabilities.  The
reps are also well informed about their competition so it is helpful to
quiz them about each other (they love this).  Also check the bionet
archive for the many discussions on this subject.
   Advantages/disadvantages?  Here are some very simplified
characteristics that I recall from our search. 
   ABI¹s sequencer has been around the longest and has many users so many
of the bugs have been worked out. But it is expensive to purchase and
operate and in our experience the quality of their service support is
   Pharmacia claims to be very simple to use (I have never tried it).  But
some of the gel apparatus parts are very expensive, and I personally
dislike the chromatogram style of data presentation.
   Li-Cor is relatively inexpensive to operate, gets very long reads (over
800 bases routinely) and the infrared dye approach has intrinsic
advantages.  And the data image looks like a traditional sequencing gel. 
But users are restricted to labeled primer protocols. (Li-Cor is working
on an internal labeled dATP technique, have been for at least a year now,
and it still does not work).
   This is not enough information for you to base your decision on, but
maybe it will help get you started.  I think that all three systems that
you mentioned are probably very good.  You just have to decide what fits
your department best.
   By the way, we bought the Li-Cor system and have been happy with the
decision.  If you have any specific questions about it that you would
rather ask a user than the company you may contact me.  Good luck.

Lawrence Washington
Indiana Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology

Lawrence Washington
Indiana University
Institute for Molecular
 and Cellular Biology

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