Photo: Courtesy of Applied Biosystems
 The Auto-Lid Dual 384-Well GeneAmp PCR System 9700 from Applied Biosystems.

Used to be, researchers used thermocyclers for PCR. But times have changed. Once called PCR machines thermocyclers are now required for a wide range of common applications such as sequencing and genotyping. Murray Anderson, director of core PCR for Applied Biosystems, Foster City Calif., observes, "When we first launched the dual 384-well [thermal cycling] systems, the primary customers were users doing sequencing. ... We have [recently] seen an expansion in numbers of people doing genotyping."

And that's not all: The rate of throughput is changing, too. Academic labs can now process samples at rates previously unheard of outside of large sequencing labs. Yet, for all the bells and whistles, these instruments remain thermocyclers, and when it comes to making a purchasing decision, accuracy, speed, format, and reliability are still the most...

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