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Stephen Johnson, an assistant professor in the department of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania, has launched a website in which researchers, especially microarray researchers who want to quickly validate their data, can share real time PCR primer sets and reaction conditions.

“I thought that if a primer set and reaction conditions already exist for a particular gene, then one can just have the oligos synthesized, thus saving time and money on the optimization step(s),’ he said.

The website, www.realtimeprimers. org, includes primer sets for different organisms and different types of formats, reaction conditions, and links to UniGene as well as online RT-PCR-related papers and equipment sites. It also features a submission form that investigators can use to submit their primer sequences and reaction conditions for shared use. Johnson said he is considering adding a discussion board as well.

“Overall, I believe this will benefit a lot of researchers if people continue to contribute to it,’ said Johnson. “I also think it will be most beneficial to microarray users who want to validate their data rapidly without having to go through the trouble of optimizing primer/reaction conditions.’


Applied Precision, of Issaquah, Wash., has named a number of global distribution partners for its arrayWorRx(e) biochip reader. Bio-Medical Sciences, a Seoul-based laboratory equipment company, will distribute arrayWorRx (e) in Korea. DataCell, an independent imaging company in Berkshire, England, will serve as exclusive distributor of the reader in the UK. Elcomind, of Milan, will distribute the arrayWorRX(e) in Italy, and Transtex, a distributor of radiology and biotechnology equipment in Taipei, will distribute the reader in Taiwan.

The arrayWoRx(e) is designed for imaging and analysis of microarray data using a white light source and CCD camera, instead of a laser and PMT. According to the company, this technology allows the reader to read up to four fluorescent probes and wavelengths per chip.


Wing Hung Wong, a professor Harvard School of Public Health’s statistics and biostatistics departments, has finished beta testing of dChip, an expression array analysis software tool that academic and other non-profit researchers will be able to freely access. The tool employs a rank-selection method that selects a set of genes with similar rank in two different arrays as a basis for normalizing data between two arrays.

Cheng Li, who works in Wong’s lab, has fixed bugs that researchers reported in beta testing, and is still fine-tuning the software. “We have made the software available for many non-profit researchers (hundreds) on the site,’ said Wong. “Many labs are now using it and responses have been very positive.’


The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.