In the July issue of Clinical Chemistry, researchers led by Mike Makrigiorgos at Brigham and Women's Hospital present a temperature tolerant approach to COLD-PCR that they say allows for simultaneous enrichment of mutations. This approach "relaxes the stringency on the denaturation temperature and simultaneously amplifies different targets with diverse Tc with a single cycling program," the researchers write. They later add that "we demonstrated simultaneous mutation enrichment in 4 TP53 exons whose Tm spanned a 2.5°C temperature window with the use of a single thermocycling program. … It is possible to broaden the temperature window to encompass a wider range of Tm or to apply a finer step between temperatures, i.e., 0.3°C instead of 0.5°C. This change may boost further the capabilities of TT-COLD-PCR."
Also in Clinical Chemistry, Shannon Haymond and Amy Saenger from Children's Hospital of Chicago asked a panel of female clinical chemists about their experiences in the field, with a particular focus on on how the field has changed. "The work climate has improved dramatically, and I personally had very few struggles, although I have experienced salary discrepancies and rank discrimination," Jocelyn Hicks from George Washington University School of Medicine tells Haymond and Saenger. Marilyn Huestis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse adds that women workers have more support than before. "Today, the culture has changed, and men are taking an active role in child rearing and responsibility for the home, which is a wonderful new norm," she says. Still, other panelists note that they have had to make sacrifices to balance their work and family lives. "When there are new challenges, major positions, or projects presented, I always ask for my family's opinion as to whether I should accept or not — therefore it ends up being a shared decision, and we collectively share the burden (and guilt)," adds Rita Horvath from Newcastle University in the UK.