Exposing Gel Documentation Systems

Remarkable advances in gel documentation technology in the last 15 years have made the quantification and identification of protein and DNA faster, easier, and more readily available for a broad range of analyses. Fuzzy bands, precious single-copy pictures, and eyeballed judgments are quickly becoming things of the past, replaced by digital imaging and fast computer analysis. The latest imaging systems can accommodate a variety of gels and staining techniques while accurately and precisely reco

Sarah Goforth
Oct 1, 2001
Remarkable advances in gel documentation technology in the last 15 years have made the quantification and identification of protein and DNA faster, easier, and more readily available for a broad range of analyses. Fuzzy bands, precious single-copy pictures, and eyeballed judgments are quickly becoming things of the past, replaced by digital imaging and fast computer analysis.

The latest imaging systems can accommodate a variety of gels and staining techniques while accurately and precisely recording, optimizing, quantifying, and storing the data. The most advanced systems, which were previously reviewed in The Scientist,1 can be priced in the $70,000 neighborhood. But for researchers facing more modest budgets or less-complex needs, there are plenty of more basic and affordable systems, ranging in price from $4,000 to $10,000.

In fact, according to John Fox, president of Encinitas, Calif.-based Lightools Research, it is a buyer's market. Basic gel documentation systems "have...

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