Building the $100 Thermocycler

Dr. Duncan Clark Duncan at
Wed Feb 2 07:58:06 EST 2000

In article <38987C9A.32E0 at>, A.F. Simpson <AFS7 at> writes
>Louis Hom wrote:
>> The recent developments surrounding the PCR patents in the US have got me
>> thinking about designing a low cost thermocycler that might make PCR more
>> accessible to labs (like high schools or undergrad labs at small schools)
>> that can't afford the $4000 price tag associated with most thermocyclers
>> out there.
>You might want to be careful.  As I understand it, the overturned patent
>concerned Taq polymerase only.  The PCR process itself (and hence
>machines to perform it) is still covered by various other patents. 

It's called I think contributory infringement. An authorised PCR machine
costs a lot more in just royalty than your USD100 machine. 

Anyway why do they need a machine to do PCR? That's an expensive lazy
option. Just use two water baths, one at 94C one at 68C, a clock and one
student! That's how it used to be done, even by Cetus, and I'm pretty
sure someone even sold a machine like that. There were certainly designs
in NAR for one using I think some machine originally used for melting
wax for sections.

The problem with being on the cutting edge is that you occasionally get 
sliced from time to time....

Duncan Clark
DNAmp Ltd.
Tel: +44(0)1252376288
FAX: +44(0)8701640382

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