Benchtop oligos: fast and cheap?

Ed Beaty ed_beaty at
Sat Jun 4 17:08:05 EST 1994

In article <ed_beaty-030694165630 at>,
ed_beaty at (Ed Beaty) wrote:
> Hi.
> I'm looking for a reference in which the author described a benchtop method
> for synthesizing DNA oligomers (up to about 30 bases) that was quick and
> easy, and maybe even not-too-expensive.  I've spent an hour digging around
> on NetEntrez to find it, but no luck.  I could have SWORN I saw this
> reference before.
> If anyone has heard of this paper, please tell me the reference!
> Thanks, 
> Ed Beaty

I'm making a habit of answering my own questions...(I'll have to stop this,
one of these days :)...after another 3 hours of digging, I found it.  

It turns out that the reference I was looking for is:

Effective synthesis of oligo(poly)deoxyribonucleotides using an
H-phosphonate method in plastic microcolumn
M.G. Isaguliants, V.V. Samoshin, I.V.Makeeva & V.D. Smirnova
Bioorg Khim 16:  933-940 (1990)

I have a feeling the paper's in Russian, but the abstract reads as follows:

"A facile technique of manual oligonucleotide synthesis via H-phosphonate
approach is developed.  Syntheses carried out in pipette tips with
siliconized glasswool filters take 3-3.5 min per cycle (!) with 97-98%
yields per condensation. [!!]  The method was used to synthesize 12 -
55-mers:  T7 and PL promoter regions, gene of the signal peptide of the E.
coli OmpA protein, oligonucleotides coding for amino acid sequences 94-105
of preS1- and 133-143 of preS2-regions of hepatitis B virus, hybridisation
probes, sequencing primers, oligonucleotides for site-directed mutagenesis,

I'm suitably impressed by their description.  I know my original quest was
for Benchtop oligos: fast and cheap.  Well, it looks fast, and you can do
it on a benchtop, but is it cheap?  I think the cheapest commercially
available oligos are about $2.50 a base or thereabouts...if this method is
cheaper, it could be really useful...My question now is, has anyone out
there tried this method?

Ed Beaty
Ed_Beaty at

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