Automated Nucleic Acid Synthesizers

Most of today's biological and biomedical laboratories simply could not function without ready access to user-specified oligonucleotides. Many researchers rely on core services or external vendors for their custom nucleotide needs. Other laboratories or departments choose to invest in oligonucleotide synthesizers for their exclusive use. Read on for a review of the basics of solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis and a summary of some of the commercially available synthesizers.

The Basics

Phosphoramidite chemistry is the most commonly used method for synthesizing oligonucleotides. Strands are formed by the sequential addition of activated monomers to an immobilized nucleotide chain. The product remains attached to an insoluble support until the final release step. The solid-phase approach is ideal for the automated synthesis of oligonucleotides. All reactions occur in a single vessel, and excess soluble reagents can be added to drive each reaction to completion. At the end of each step, soluble...

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