PCR loading/384 wells/864 wells/??

WSchick at aol.com WSchick at aol.com
Sun Dec 8 08:45:09 EST 1996

In a message dated 96-12-08 05:15:37 EST, ladasky at leland.Stanford.EDU (John
Ladasky) writes:

<< 	Can you imagine loading 384 PCR's by hand?  I don't suppose that
 the new divided tubes are compatible with robotic systems.  They're 
 probably not even that easy for multichannel pipettors.  Anyone know?
384 well plates are in use at genomic labs looking for high throughput.
  Other uses for 384 wells are in library storage, high throughput screening,

quad 96 wells are just that--a standard 200ul microtube strip or plate that
has a molded cross inside that divides the well into 4 pie shaped wells.  Any
8 or 12 or 96 well pipettor will match the spacing, so one needs only to move
the tips from quadrant a to b to c to d for pipetting.  The quad tubes fit
most 96 well thermal cyclers such as Biometra, MJ Research, Techne, P-E etc.

384 wells are simply 4x 96 wells, with each well at 1/2 the distance of a 96
well plate (4.5mm) so a 12-channel pippettor would suffice--use it to fill
wells 1-3-5-7 etc and then reload and fill wells 2-4-6-8 and so on.   Several
cycler manufacturers have 384 well blocks that fit the Polyfiltronics UR384
plates.  MJ Research, Biometra, Bio-Therm (will take maybe a dozen plates or
more) etc.

Many of the 96 well pipettors and robotics work fine here.  BioMek, Tecan,
 Zymark, Hamilton, Packard etc. and Robbins, Wallac, Matrix, Carls Creative
etc have 96 well pippettors that can move 1/2 well to fill 384 wells in four
loadings.  Robbins even has a 384 syringe pipettor.   

So the use of (or demand for)  384 well plates is driving the hardware
development.    Some of the new fluorometers, luminometers, visible readers
also read 384 wells.  BMG Labtech readers even read 864 wells (9x96).

Problem is not so much filling, but recovery as the wells, of course, are
smaller diameter.  The 384 wells are typically about 2-3mm in diameter vs the
7 or so mm of 96 well microplates?   The 864 wells are smaller of course.

I only know of one supplier of 864 well plates, but there are a number of
plate makers that supply different versions of 384 wells.  Maybe the next
stage will be 1536 wells?

Or maybe we'll just throw away microplates and go directly to microchip pcr.
 Now, how do you load a microchip....?

Walt Schick

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