It was bound to happen. During the growth of PCR, many companies joined the thermal cycler bandwagon. But since The Scientist's last thermal cycler review,1 some of these manufacturers--such as Ericomp--have left the cut-throat market and a number of the machines listed in previous LabConsumer profiles have been discontinued. Market niches remain for those companies and product lines that have survived the intense competition.

One such niche is real-time thermocyclers, previously reviewed in The Scientist.2 These cyclers permit researchers to monitor the thermal and optical properties of their reactions in real time, and are indispensable for quantitative PCR. Another specialty is high-throughput PCR, spurred by the rapid growth of genomics-related research. Overall, features that were once optional, such as heated lids, are now standard, and interchangeable blocks allow researchers to customize their experiments even with low-end thermal cycler models.

Although the number of companies manufacturing thermal cyclers...

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