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JCVI Beta-Testing New Beckman System for Faster Illumina GA Library Prep

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By Julia Karow

This article, originally posted Jan. 8, has been updated with additional information from Beckman Coulter.

Beckman Coulter said last week that the J. Craig Venter Institute is beta-testing a new Beckman system that automates the preparation of fragment libraries for the Illumina Genome Analyzer.

The benchtop instrument, called SPRIworks Fragment Library System I, is scheduled to be launched this quarter, and pricing information will be available at that time. It is capable of preparing up to 10 DNA libraries within five hours, with less than five minutes of hands-on time, according to the company.

Developed by Beckman Coulter Genomics, which emerged after Beckman combined Agencourt Bioscience and Cogenics, the system uses the company's solid phase reversible immobilization, or SPRI, nucleic acid purification technology, which utilizes paramagnetic beads. The system thus eliminates the need for column purification and gel electrophoresis-based size selection and makes the library construction workflow "amenable to automation," according to Beckman.

The system consists of three components: a SPRI-TE Nucleic Acid Extractor; a method card that controls liquid handling; and a cartridge with all reagents required to prepare a single library.

A JCVI scientist said in a statement from Beckman that the SPRIworks system has enabled the institute to prepare as many as 20 DNA libraries in a day instead of six libraries and will help it to decrease its library construction costs.

According to a Beckman spokesperson, the instrument is currently optimized for generating fragment libraries for the Illumina GA, but "we are looking to expand the system to other applications." A company poster describing the system states that it "is also capable of preparing libraries for the Roche 454 and Life Technologies SOLiD system."

Beckman said it plans to extend its collaboration with JCVI to include future SPRIworks applications.

The company said it will present the SPRIworks Fragment Library System I at the 2010 Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, which started last weekend.

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