Courtesy of Biometra
 Biometra's TGradient

Things are getting hot in the thermal cycler world. Since The Scientist's last annual review of thermal cyclers,1 a number of vendors have updated their product lines, and several plan to release new products within the next year. With improved user-friendliness and visual appeal, the thermocycler class of 2003 features something for every user.

Most thermal cyclers use thermal engines based on the Peltier effect, in which heat is transferred from one side of a semiconductor to another, eliminating the need for refrigerants and compressors. Other systems use circulating air or water baths, or a combination of Peltier, resistive, or convective technologies.

With so many options, PCR novices may have trouble making a decision. Product managers cite a number of items to consider when purchasing a thermal cycler. First, some instruments feature gradient functionality or the option to upgrade to real-time PCR. A number...

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