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454 Launches Automation Module for Emulsion PCR Enrichment

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Roche's 454 Life Sciences said this week that it is launching a module for liquid-handling systems to automate a step in the sample preparation for its Genome Sequencer FLX.

The company said that the REM e System, a robotic accessory module that works with several liquid handling platforms, automates the enrichment step of emulsion PCR and subsequent primer hybridization in the GS FLX Titanium series workflow, replacing up to five hours of "dedicated manual lab work."

The module, which is available immediately, automates the last step of emPCR, which consists of amplification, emulsion breaking, and bead enrichment. It works with liquid workstations such as the Hamilton STARlet, Hamilton Star, Tecan Genesis RSP 100, and Biomek FX.

The REM e System supports up to four sequencing runs a day, is compatible with several emulsion volumes, and works with a variety of sequencing libraries, including shotgun, paired-end, cDNA, amplicon libraries, and libraries with barcoded samples.

454 said that the REM e System represents "one of a series of recent improvements to streamline the sequencing system's end-to-end workflow." Other recent improvements include a new library preparation kit, which is faster than previous kits and requires less DNA; and upgrades to the GS FLX's data analysis software (see In Sequence 9/29/2009).

With the new module, 454 addresses one of the most frequent complaints of users of 454's GS FLX as well as Applied Biosystems' SOLiD system, both of which amplify DNA using emulsion PCR. Users have described this process as time-consuming and labor-intensive.

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