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Low Energy Cost PCR System Offers Five Channel Multiplexing Capability

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Nov 2011
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Image: The PikoReal Real-Time PCR System (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific).
Image: The PikoReal Real-Time PCR System (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific).
A new, energy-saving PCR system has entered the United States biotech market and will be available in Europe in the second half of 2012.

The Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Milford, MA, USA) PikoReal Real-Time PCR System is available as either a 24-well or a 96-well instrument that utilizes proprietary UTW Piko PCR Plates. These plates are a quarter the size and half the thickness of standard PCR plates but still maintain industry standards for well volumes and well spacing, thus having compatibility with standard multichannel pipettes (both eight- and 16-channel) and liquid handling robots. The Piko PCR plates enable shorter incubation times and improved data uniformity by improving thermal transfer between block and sample.

The built-in optical system of the PikoReal contains five channels, precalibrated for the most common dyes, so users can perform multiplexing with four dyes while dedicating the fifth channel to SYBR Green (an asymmetrical cyanine dye used as a nucleic acid stain in molecular biology) experiments. Data is collected from all wells simultaneously with a low noise and high sensitivity CCD camera (520 nm to 740 nm). The scanning time for all four channels is less than 10 seconds, supporting the development of fast qPCR (quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction) protocols for multiplexing.

Five long-lasting LEDs are used as the instruments' light source. These lamps emit constant and stable light over a broad spectrum (475 nm to 640 nm) and require no user maintenance. Separate light sources of different excitation wavelengths reduce crosstalk and focus high light energy levels.

The instruments are controlled by PikoReal software, which enables absolute and relative quantification, melting curve analysis, and genotyping.

The PikoReal PCR system is now being marketed in the US and it will become available in Canada, Brazil, and Western Europe beginning the second half of 2012.

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