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Product Watch: Apr 14, 2011

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Life Technologies this week launched the Ion OneTouch system, an automated sample preparation system for the Ion Personal Genome Machine sequencer.

The Ion OneTouch is three times faster than standard methods with only five minutes of hands-on time, Life Tech said in a statement. The system combines sample loading, clonal amplification, and sample recovery into a single, automated, hands-off process, the company said.

The new system is scalable and supports the Ion 314, 316, and 318 chips, delivering 10 Mb to 1 Gb of sequence; and the running costs will be comparable to current Ion template preparation kits, Life Tech said.

The new system makes sample preparation "simple, fast, and affordable," Jonathan Rothberg, founder and president of Ion Torrent, said in a statement. "You just load your library and amplification master mix onto the Ion OneTouch and within three hours you're ready to sequence."

Ion Torrent is accepting orders next week with an introductory price under $5,000. The first shipments will be in late June and the Ion OneTouch System will be broadly available in the third quarter, the company said.


Transgenomic this week launched Surveyor Scan mutation-detection kits for mutational analysis of the BRAF and PIK3CA genes.

The new tests add to Transgenomic's existing Surveyor Scan test for detecting mutations in KRAS. Mutations in all three genes, Transgenomic noted, are widely accepted to be correlated with a lack of response to the class of lung and colorectal cancer drugs that inhibit the epidermal growth factor receptor.

Transgenomic's Surveyor Scan technology uses PCR amplification and hybridization to form mispaired DNA molecules between normal and mutant sequences, which are then cleaved using Surveyor Nuclease and detected on a chromatogram.

The company claims that the kits will detect all mutations in the amplified gene targets at levels as low as 1 percent in a background of non-mutated DNA.

Transgenomic said that "in the near future" it expects to release CE IVD versions of the BRAF and PIK3CA kits for the European diagnostics market and plans to expand the Surveyor Scan product line with mutation detection kits for other key cancer pathway genes that can be used manually or with its Wave HS automated microfluidics platforms.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.