This year, I went a little overboard with my New Year’s resolutions. I'm all in, and by all in, I mean I have joined every gym and exercise class possible. In addition to CrossFit, I have started kickboxing, Krav Maga, indoor cycling, a running club, and I might even try yoga. After all, what better time to strive for change and self-improvement than the new year? Sure, we can commit to new habits any time of the year, but undeniably, there is more motivation once the calendar changes to January 1. Along with your goals for personal growth, what about making a resolution related to business?
As new technology is developed and introduced to the marketplace, you may have heard a nasty rumor that the manufacturer will no longer be offering support or maintenance on older machines like the ABI 3130/xl Genetic Analyzer, or 7900HT qPCR. You might have even gotten a notice that effectively says that you’ll have to upgrade to a newer model if you want to keep your lab operational. Sure, these machines have improved functionality and can make a lab more efficient, but the bottom line is this unnecessary upgrade is costly and just doesn’t make sense for a lot of labs.
Many of our users have found that when using water for injections instead of Hi-Di formamide, they end up with issues that prevent base calling, even when following the machine standards. Proper technique should produce signal strengths well above the minimum threshold when samples are resuspended in formamide.
However, if you are still having issues with signal strength, you can try resuspending your samples in water, since this can increase signal strength by over 10x. If you do try employing water for injections, make sure you’re cautious of these three things:
There’s been a lot going on here at SeqGen recently. In addition to introducing our Next-Gen Sequencing Division, we’ve also been working on some internal processes to increase the efficiency of our service. And last month, all of our hard work was recognized when we received our International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification.
We all know that the reagents for your sequencers and qPCR machines aren’t cheap, so of course everyone is looking for any and every way to save on these supplies. With a bottle of polymer costing a few hundred dollars, you learn quickly that it is not to be wasted. Luckily, some very bright people work with these machines every day and they’ve come up with some ingenious ways to get the most out of your polymer.
If you’ve been using your MiSeq for any length of time, you know that cluster density is a crucial part of NGS to generate the best and most data possible. Under-clustering and over-clustering your data will result in similar errors since your machine will not be able to find the best cluster focus in either case. In order to get the most data possible out of each of your runs, you’ll need to find your “sweet spot” to get the most usable data.
For every problem you may encounter with any of your machines, we are here to help you find the solution. If your 3130 or 3730 is giving you an error which reads: “Electrical Discharge Error,” one of the possible causes could be an issue with your pump’s one-way check valve . The error may indicate that the valve is malfunctioning, resulting in the back-flow of liquid to the polymer bottle. This leads to incomplete filling of your array and causes the old polymer to remain in the capillary. The end result is a bad spatial intensity, as well as an electrical discharge error.
No matter how big your lab is, you’ve probably asked yourself this question. It’s difficult to decide whether to continue on with the sequencer or qPCR you know and love, or go with the powerful new technology. When you start to consider things like service plans and the hassle of changing equipment, it can feel like an overwhelming decision. To make the right decision, there are a few things you should consider.
Protecting your sequencer or qPCR is no laughing matter. For many labs, the smallest problem can cause days of downtime. Although it is impossible to avoid all of these issues, a coverage plan with SeqGen will minimize downtime so you can get back to your samples.
We’ve got you covered.
Starting in January of 2017, ThermoFisher/Life Technologies has announced that they will no longer service the ABI 3130 or 3130xl Genetic Analyzers. Their plans for the continuing maintenance of the 7900HT will also follow suit in the next couple of years.
If you have one of these machines, you’ve probably already gotten something from ThermoFisher stating that you will have to upgrade to new technology, like it or not.