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On PCR, Asia, and special offers


Electricity. Computers. The Internet.

Because there are so few of them, it’s pretty easy to list the major innovations of the last century that have so revolutionized the way we work that we can no longer imagine life without them. I’d submit that in the field of molecular biology, PCR is one of the few technologies that could be included on such a list. Not only has it made possible insights into entirely new realms of molecular biology, but even today this 20-year-old tool is still being introduced to new fields and applications.

For the very reason that PCR is a ubiquitous technology, it is often overlooked. But for the last few months, you’ve probably heard (as we have) increased chatter on the subject. That’s because in late March, the core PCR patents held by Roche expired. Ever since, scientists have been wondering what this means for them — so we thought it was the perfect time to give you a cover story on it. Check out “The Future of PCR” for news on upcoming improvements in the works, new applications of PCR, and alternative technologies trying to grab some market share. We also delve into the patent fracas and give you a look at a number of outcomes that could result from the patents’ expiration.

The Human Genome annual meeting was held this year in Kyoto — just another in a long line of prominent conferences to recognize the importance of systems biology in Asia. We’ve been covering the biotech boom there for years, and in this issue we offer a feature story on the subject. As our senior editor John MacNeil reports, the field of large-scale biology is maturing in this market. He uses India as a case study to evaluate what it takes to build up this industry, and checks in on other major players in the Asian biotech arena — including Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Japan, and China — as well.

Normally, I stay far away from the advertising side of the magazine (if you’re a regular reader, you know that we’re one of the few trade publications to completely separate our editorial efforts from the company’s advertising side) but this issue has a new ad section that I just have to tell you about. We here on the editorial side realized that, though so many vendors offer discounts and promotional deals on their tools and reagents, it’s got to be nearly impossible for you to keep up with all the e-mail and advertising flyers. So with this issue of the magazine, we’re pleased to introduce a new advertising section called Special Offers, located next to our usual product listings in the back of the book, where you can check out deals from vendors. Again, the editorial staff of the magazine is not involved in this page at all — but we do hope that it will prove to be a useful resource to you.


Meredith W. Salisbury, Editor


What do you think of Genome Technology? Let me know how we’re doing by e-mailing me at msalisbury@ or by calling me at +1.212.651.5635.