What to Look for in a PCR System

Learn which applications are most common and more from our latest PCR survey results.

By Ryan Ackerman

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technology used to amplify a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude. This technique employs thermal cycling, which consists of repeated heating and cooling of the reaction for DNA melting and enzymatic replication. PCR has found applications in a variety of fields including medical and biological research, cloning, functional genetic analysis, forensics, and disease diagnosis.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying PCR Equipment

  1. Consider the type of equipment you need, whether it be standard PCR, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), or digital PCR.
  2. What sample formats do you require? While most users run their reactions in a 96-well format with 0.2 mL tubes, other formats are available.
  3. Consider the ramp temperature and time. Ideally, you want a system with fast temperature ramp up/cool down time, and with low error.
  4. How many users will be using the system? Systems which can run two independent PCRs at the same time might be desirable for labs with multiple users.
  5. Consider your throughput requirements. For high throughput applications, systems that can accommodate larger plate formats, or that have integrated automation and robotics may be desirable.

Types of PCR systems used by survey respondents:

Standard PCR 80%
Real-time PCR / qPCR 73%
Multiplex PCR 33%
Digital PCR 5%

PCR applications as reported by survey respondents:

Gene expression 59%
DNA sequencing 39%
Diagnostics 37%
Cloning 37%
Pathogen detection 29%
SNP genotyping 25%
Viral quantitation 19%
Microarray/miRNA/RNAi validation 18%
Site-directed mutagenesis 18%
Copy number analysis 14%
Microsatellite analysis 11%
Other 5%

Nearly 48% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new PCR system. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
New application requiring different instrument
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a PCR system:

Consistent quality 90%
Sensitivity 82%
User-friendly controls/software interface 62%
Service and support 60%
Ease of use 60%
Price 58%
Warranty 45%
Multiplexing capability 42%
Linear dynamic range 38%
Ease of installation 31%

For more information on PCR equipment, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/PCR

See survey results from previous years:

Categories: Surveys

Published In

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