Low cost autoseq reviews please

Dr. Alex C. Jeffries a.jeffries at uts.edu.au
Thu Dec 7 20:49:26 EST 1995

I'll throw my vote in for the Li-Cor 4000L. We tested the ABI 373 Stretch 
and Li-Cor machines this time last year and decided to purchase the 
Li-Cor. The biggest selling point it had was read length and accuracy. 
The best we could get from the ABI machine was about 400-450 nt of 
believable sequence. Although it would appear to read up to 700 nt, you 
couldn't believe the sequence above 400-450. The Li-Cor machine however 
routinely gives us 700-900 nt with very good accuracy. Another selling 
point for us was the more intuitive interface that the Li-Cor machine 
uses. Because it gives a autoradiograph type picture on the screen you 
can check and trouble-shoot sequence using all of the skills that you 
have developed for radioactive manual sequencing. People just find it 
more comforting to believe an "autorad" rather than the chromatographs 
produced by the ABI machine. The base calling algoorithm that Li-Cor uses 
is superior to that used by the ABI machine. The unit is smaller and 
quieter than the ABI, the laser is cheaper and doesn't burn out on a 
regular basis, the glass-plates are cheaper than the ABI and much easier 
to prepare and pour due to their nifty rail system.  Being able to run 
three machines from one computer is another good point. Lots of other 
good points for the Li-Cor that I don't have tme to get into.

On the down side, the chemistry for the Li-Cor machine means that you 
have to load four lanes (ACGT) for each reaction as opposed to the one 
tube affair with ABI/PRISM. If you are going to use the dye-labelled dATP 
protocol, which I believe Li-Cor have just officially released, you have 
to be careful which thermal cycler that you use (PE or MJ advised). 
That's about all that I can think of that was on the down side for us.

BTW, Jenny, if you are still thinking about which machine to buy and you 
want to ask some questions, give me a ring as we were the first people in 
Australia to get a Li-Cor and are the "reference" center for them (i.e., 
we just give our opinions about the machine to anyone who is interested. 
We have no commercial interest in Li-Cor).


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Dr. Alex Jeffries
University of Technology, Sydney
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology                Phone:  61-2-330-4014
Molecular Parasitology Unit                             FAX:    61-2-330-4003
Westbourne Street
GORE HILL       NSW     2065

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