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Product Watch: Eppendorf, LabCyte, Sage Science, and Hamilton Robotics

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Eppendorf this week launched the Mastercycler Nexus family of PCR instruments.

The Mastercycler Nexus features automatic lid height adjustment which, in combination with the universal block, allows use of the widest variety of PCR consumables, from large 0.5-mL tubes down to low-profile plates and strips.

The product also provides a true thermal gradient with 12 different temperatures and features SteadySlope technology to ensure that heating and cooling ramp rates are identical in both optimization and routine experiments, Eppendorf said.


Labcyte has launched software that enables the automatic transferral of a greater range of fluid types using acoustic energy on its Echo liquid handling systems.

The Dynamic Fluid Analysis software enables the systems to adapt to fluid property changes such as surface tension and viscosity, and adjusts sound energy in real time on a well-by-well basis with no operator intervention, the company said.

With traditional liquid handling, operators are required to calibrate the machine in advance — a time-consuming process that is at best an approximation for conditions that may vary throughout an experimental assay, Labcyte said. Errors in dispensing parameters may lead to false results in an assay, resulting in costly experimental repeats or missed valuable results.

"Labcyte customers have demonstrated greatly improved miniaturized assays across a wide range of applications including qPCR, protein crystallography, and cell-based assays," CEO Mark Fischer-Colbrie said in a statement. "Many applications require the precise transfer of viscous or low-surface-tension fluids, which are a challenge for other liquid handlers, especially in smaller formats. The Echo platform not only transfers these challenging solutions, but does so automatically."


Sage Science has launched the BluePippin instrument for automated size selection and retrieval of DNA for molecular biology research.

BluePippin expands Sage’s Pippin line of preparative electrophoresis products by providing the capability to collect larger, kilobase-sized, DNA fragments. The Pippin platform is typically used to construct genomic libraries for next-gen sequencing, the company said.

BluePippin is an updated version of the Pippin Prep system, to which a pulsed-field power supply has been added. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis allows larger fragments of DNA separated with high resolution and accuracy. Using pre-cast gels, BluePippin can automatically collect DNA targets up to 50 kilobase pairs in length, with minimal hands-on time. The system will also feature a new optical design that improves the automated capture of DNA bands and restriction fragments, the company said.


Hamilton Robotics has launched an automated DNA sample enrichment workflow on the Microlab STARlet Liquid Handling Workstation.

Integrating Roche's 454 "REM e" liquid handling system, the new workflow enriches as many as eight samples for subsequent sequencing on the GS FLX System. Five different REM e protocols are available as fully automated STARlet methods, and the platform includes predefined hardware to accurately position the REM e Deck module and the REM e tube racks on the STARlet deck, the company said.

The Scan

Gap in COVAX Doses

BBC News reports that COVAX is experiencing a vaccine shortfall, as the Serum Institute of India has paused exports.

Sanofi, GSK Report Promising Results

The Wall Street Journal reports that the candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline has had encouraging early results.

Influence of Luck

The New York Times examines how the US avoided variant-fueled increases in COVID-19 cases.

PLOS Papers on Retina GWAS, Hantaan Virus, COVID-19 Phenome-Wide Association Study

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of retinal morphology, analysis of hantaan virus found in a mouse, and more.