Special Containers

Certain real-time PCR instruments require special containers. These include electrically conductive polymer tubes/plates of the BioGene InSyte and the special plastic small-volume containers of the Cepheid SmartCycler. The cost of these containers is significantly higher than that of regular tubes and plates. Both containers are designed to achieve fast cycling times.

Combining various technologies for heating/cooling and illumination/detection has given rise to a large selection of real-time PCR instruments that have unique advantages, making them the preferred choice for certain applications, but they also have limitations. Tables 1 and 2 summarize the most common real-time PCR instruments available today and their properties.

Development in real-time PCR instrumentation is branching into high-throughput instruments for routine diagnostics, research instruments with maximum flexibility, and battery-operated instruments for field use. The high-throughput instruments are developing into fully automated machines, with miniaturized reactions enabling many hundreds of samples to be run simultaneously. The instruments are also becoming increasingly integrated with sample preparation robots.

Although the main use of real-time PCR is in diagnostics, the technique is rapidly becoming popular in gene expression profiling. Today, real-time PCR is mainly used to validate results from microarray expression experiments. With the introduction of high-throughput automated instruments, the unsurpassed sensitivity, accuracy, and specificity of real-time PCR are likely to make real-time PCR the method of choice also for large-scale gene expression studies. We think that development will eventually lead to a merger of real-time PCR and microarray platforms, resulting in realtime PCR microarrays with the throughput of today's microarrays and the sensitivity, accuracy, and specificity of real-time PCR.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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