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New Products: Ion Torrent PGM Chips; New England Biolabs' NEBNext Microbiome; WaferGen's SmartChip

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Life Technologies' Ion Torrent has launched new versions of its PGM chips that increase throughput. Throughput for the 314 chip has increased to 100-megabases, throughput of the 316 chip is now 1-gigabase, and 318 throughput is now 2-gigabases, according to the company. The new chips are priced the same as the previous chips.

Additionally, the company has cut the list price of the PGM by 30 percent. Actual prices vary by geographic region.


New England Biolabs has launched the NEBNext Microbiome DNA enrichment kit, which separates microbial DNA from host DNA. To do this it uses MBD2-Fc protein, which binds to CpG-methylated DNA with very high specificity. The MDB2-Fc protein is attached to Protein A-coated magnetic beads, which enables removal of the contaminating host DNA in about 30 minutes, according to the company. The sample can be processed for downstream applications such as next-generation sequencing or qPCR.


WaferGen has launched SmartChip TE, a PCR-based target enrichment solution for sample preparation prior to targeted re-sequencing. The company said that the kit will be especially useful for clinical applications because it is based on proprietary technology that relies on massively parallel single-plex PCR reactions, where amplification is cleaner and better controlled, which will provide more accurate sequencing results.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.