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Thermal Cyclers

This year marks the 25th anniversary of commercial thermal cyclers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In brief, this technology amplifies segments of DNA. In such a device, PCR tubes go in holes in a thermal block.

by Other Author

This year marks the 25th anniversary of commercial thermal cyclers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In brief, this technology amplifies segments of DNA. In such a device, PCR tubes go in holes in a thermal block. With everything loaded, the instrument runs the sample through cycles of temperature increases and decreases. Each cycle makes more nucleic acid.

Top 7 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Thermal Cycler

1. What features does the company’s thermal cycler offer to save programming time?

2. How important is it to have a highly intuitive interface which saves time training new users?

3. Does the thermal cycler provide a thermal gradient for quick PCR optimization?

4. Does the instrument offer the flexibility to accommodate researchers’ changing needs (increase throughput and/or upgrade to real time PCR)? Find out what options are available.

5. Does the thermal cycler support protocol backup and transfer using a USB flash drive?

6. Is the thermal cycler designed to provide quiet operation?

7. What differentiates the company’s thermal cycler from others offered in terms of reliability and performance?

Recent Trends in Thermal Cyclers:

• One major challenge faced by today’s thermal cyclers is that they can be a bottleneck in research since they can be used for so many different applications. Scientists may even have to sign up to use the thermal cycler in their labs. And users don’t always fill the entire thermal cycler block, meaning other scientists wait in line while a partial PCR load processes.

• Current thermal-cycler blocks come in a wide range of sizes, including 24-, 96-, 384-, and 1,536-well designs. Some blocks even include less common formats, such as 60 wells.

• H owever, to make better use of the space in blocks, some thermal cyclers can run more than one protocol in the same block.

• Today’s thermal cyclers are much easier to use than in the past with features such as touchscreen controls. The complexity arises in designing the experiments and determining what samples to test and when.

• Continuing to make thermal cyclers faster and more efficient will improve the vast range of genomic technologies that rely on this platform. As genomics itself expands into an increasing range of basic research and clinical applications, the need for thermal cyclers will grow even more intense.

Recently Released Thermal Cyclers

Biometra TProfessional TRIO
• Includes three independent thermo cyclers in one housing, running three different programs at the same time
• Three different block formats available
• Features maximum throughput of 144 samples
• Boasts intuitive, easy spreadsheet and graphical programming
• Comes with versatile USB functions • Also includes two-year warranty


Mastercycler® nexus
• Allows users to combine up to three units for ultimate throughput
• Connects to the user’s computer network
• Controls all the relevant parameters of user’s PCR through intuitive software
• Features low energy consumption and stand-by function
• Includes Screen Saver option that serves as a booking schedule and universal block for excellent flexibility


Prime Series
• Performs user-friendly programming functions with prompted protocol templates displayed on a large color touch screen interface • Six models, with numerous options, are available to accommodate a wide range of PCR processing requirements
• Basic models offer cost effective upgrade flexibility to meet changing cycling needs
• Sample blocks are also fully interchangeable


• Veriflex™ Blocks offer 6 independent temperature blocks providing precise control over users’ PCR optimization, supplying “better-than-gradient” functionality
• User interface, accessible via a color touch screen, simplifies the setup and use of the instrument • Optional setups for fast or standard PCR methods provide you the flexibility to shorten your PCR cycling time

Life Technologies

Thermal Cycler Manufacturers

Analytik Jena
Applied Biosystems
Labnet International
Life Technologies
Thermo Fisher Scientific