Unfortunately, many laboratories do not have access to this technology because computer-controlled robots that generate high-density arrays are very expensive. The new MicroCASTer from Schleicher & Schuell Inc. of Keene, N.H., is an economical, 8-pin, hand-held arrayer that uses free-floating micro-slotted pins to transfer samples from 96-well source plates to nylon membrane-coated glass slides, depositing 500 µm spots. Up to 768 spots can be placed in under 20 minutes, and a special index system allows preparation of duplicate slides with excellent reproducibility. Breck Parker, senior scientist at S & S, helped to design the MicroCASTer so that it would be "quick, simple, and economically convenient ... for someone who couldn't [previously] access the technology or for [the researcher] who only wanted to array a few samples without queuing for and programming the robotic arrayer."
Also available to complement the MicoCASTer is the CAST™ Slides Microhybridization Kit. Along with optimized prehybridization and hybridization buffers, this kit includes unique hybridization chambers which allow superior mixing of solutions compared with regular glass coverslips, thereby reducing cross-hybridization and promoting a greater level of specificity.
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