Upgrades for the ABI 373 DNA-sequencer - experiences??

Bruce Roe broe at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu
Sun Feb 27 09:27:00 EST 1994

In article <1994Feb21.204208.8444 at nomina.lu.se>, Bo Servenius <Bo.Servenius at wblab.lu.se> writes...
>Dear Netters:
>I plan to upgrade our ABI373 with different option but I am offered
>prices that are prohibitively high. After Perkin Elmer has taken over the
>shop here in Sweden they are jacking up the prices to a level that is
>criminal. Could you please give the pricing or even better the price you
>have been offered for the following items:
>Five filter wheel upgrade
>Stretch upgrade (long liner)
>36 well shark tooth kit, incl software upgrade
>If you can give me some comments about how these upgrades are working in
>real life I would appreciate it too. 
        Too bad you didn't tell us the price ABI was asking in Sweden.
I'd be curious.  Anyway, we upgraded one of our 4 ABI's with the 5-filter
wheel (cost $10,000) and I STRONGLY recommend it.  We use it for primer
walking with Sequenase(tm) and their new terminators and find it very
helpful for reading through homopolymer, di, tri and tetra nucleotide
repeats.  Much better than Taq cycle sequencing and fluor-labeled primers.
However, if you think the cost of the upgrade is high, the fluor-terminators
either separately or in a Sequenase kit also is high, something like close
to $1000 for 100 reactions.  Thus, we only use the fluor-terminators when
we REALLY need to and still routinely use the fluor-primers and Taq cycle
sequencing for the bulk of our shotgun sequencing.
        The stretch upgrade also is a good idea but is not yet shipping.
I ordered 2 stretch upgrades in November and they are still on back-order.
The cost was $15,000 each. Their problem with the stretch upgrade seems to
be a difficulty in getting the long glass plates made to specifications,
low fluorescence, optically flat, etc.  The latest word I had from ABI was
that they are looking into alternative glass suppliers but no clue on when
the upgrades would arrive. The word I get from a couple of beta sites I am
aware of, is that they have been getting great results with highly accurate
reads out in the 600-700 range after fooling with gel conditions, run time,
and sequencing reaction conditions.
        As for the 36 well shark tooth kit, incl software upgrade, as I
recall, it came free with the 5-filter upgrade.  We have been using a home
made 36-well non-shark tooth comb for quite a while and it works great. There
really is no software upgrade involved that I am aware of, just a new 36-well
comb file that you put in the ABI folder in your system folder.  However, you 
will need their software at version level 1.2.0, which again, as I recall,
came with the 5 filter upgrade.

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 \  Bruce A. Roe              Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry /
 /  University of Oklahoma    INTERNET:  BROE at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu  \
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