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Purchasing Guides

Illustration of PCR tubes
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Purchasing Guide: PCR/Thermal Cyclers

When purchasing technology for PCR and qPCR, consider the accuracy of the temperature and fluorescence measurements, and the robustness of the instrument as it will be running for long periods of time

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Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique used to amplify DNA strands by cycling through specific temperatures to facilitate different stages of the reaction. Building on this, qPCR allows for the quantitation of DNA strands in real time. When purchasing technology for PCR and qPCR, consider the accuracy of the temperature and fluorescence measurements, and the robustness of the instrument as it will be running for long periods of time. For a list of manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/pcr-manufacturers

6 Questions to Ask When Buying a Thermal Cycler:

  1. How many samples can the instrument run at once?
  2. Can the plates be swapped to accommodate different sample vessels (e.g., tubes or plates)?
  3. How easy is the instrument to use?
  4. Does the instrument come with software? Do its features support your needs?
  5. How long does it take for the plates to heat up and cool down?
  6. How much space will the instrument take up in your lab?

Maintenance Tip

Be sure to verify the temperature accuracy and uniformity of your thermal cycler’s heat block every six months. Inaccurate readings can invalidate your experiments, losing you samples, time, and money. 

Designing qPCR Assays

Designing a real-time PCR assay can be challenging. One of the main challenges is selecting primer and probe sequences, along with sequence dyes. This difficulty is exacerbated in multiplex assays. Learn more about successfully designing and implementing an assay at LabManager.com/qpcr-assay-design