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Top 5 Groundbreaking PCR Achievements
2021-04-23

Nearly 40 years after its invention, scientists continue to find ground-breaking applications for PCR. What is even more amazing is that these achievements span vastly across scientific disciplines including forensics, paleontology, and agriculture.

PCR is shorthand for a simple but very powerful procedure in molecular biology called polymerase chain reaction. Scientists can amplify a segment of DNA or produce millions of copies and compare this DNA to other samples.

Let's take a look at some of the top triumphs that are the result of this incredible technology.

1- The Human Genome Project: The Human Genome Project was the international research effort to determine the DNA sequence of the entire human genome. The first drafts of the human genome, published 20 years ago, opened the doors to a whole new understanding of genetics, DNA and how it affects humans physiologically. The human reference genome has profoundly changed the way medical research is conducted and the way drugs are developed. Having a master blueprint has allowed researchers to develop therapies that resulted in over 2000 new drugs that target specific human genes or proteins.

2- Forensic Science: PCR has emerged as a very important tool to identify criminals. Using crime scene evidence such as blood, hair and pollen forensic experts can create a DNA fingerprint (also called a DNA profile) which provides identification of individuals and familial relationships. PCR technology allows DNA to be identified from tiny samples – a single molecule of DNA can be enough for PCR amplification. The downside of this technique is that experts can only compare crime scene DNA with a databank of DNA samples from known criminals.

3- Ancient DNA Analysis: Archaeologists and paleontologists use PCR to extract ancient DNA from hair, bones, fossils, or other tissues. PCR has revolutionized the way these samples are studied because with only a minute quantity of extremely old DNA a wealth of information can be gathered. Even with ancient samples, genomes can be sequenced allowing scientists to piece together information which can further knowledge on evolution. Genome sequencing can also aid in phylogenetic studies (the evolutionary relationships among biological entities), leading to greater understanding of organisms’ evolutionary relationships to each other.

4- Food and Agriculture: Although selective breeding of crops has been around for centuries, the genetic code of our food can now be modified directly using GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). By modifying genetic materials to create combinations of plants that do not occur in nature we are able to improve food and food production. GMOs are not without controversy, while some hail GMO’s as the answer to feeding a growing population, anti-GMO activists fear that in the absence of long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown.

5- Medicine: In addition to research applications, PCR is also commonly used in clinical and medical applications. PCR can detect a small number of infectious microbes and allows for earlier, more accurate diagnostics, an application which has been hailed as the unlikely hero of the COVID-19 pandemic. Newer PCR techniques like real-time RT-PCR are extremely helpful in drug development providing a rapid overview of how cells respond to certain compounds. RT-PCR is hailed as revolutionizing the development of drugs and diagnostic testing. Notably, it is being used to diagnose and treat hepatitis C. RT-PCR has also revolutionized the identification of cancer and tumor biomarkers by allowing for quick cross examination between cancer cells and normal cells. 

Ultident Scientific carries a variety of PCR consumables including plates, seals, strips and tubes to meet the needs of your application. Click here to browse our large selection of 96 and 384 well plates designed to precisely fit the majority of PCR thermal cyclers and sequencers on the market today.

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What to Consider when Choosing a Centrifuge Tube
2021-04-12

Centrifuge tubes can be found in research and clinical lab around the world.  While 15 & 50mL tubes mayall look similar, choosing the right tube for your protocol is crucial when handling valuable samples.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right tube for your lab:

Volume: Generally, a centrifuge tube should be filled to at least 75% of its capacity to be centrifuged. Tubes centrifuged with too much dead space can lead to material stress, resulting in tube failure. The most common tubes sold are 15- & 50-mL conical tubes. Recently, 5-, 10- & 25-mL tubes that fit into traditional 15- & 50-ml tube rotors have come onto the market. Despite the fact that these options might more closely match actual sample volumes of certain labs, they are not as popular as traditional 15- & 50-mL models. In some cases, adaptors can be used to allow certain smaller diameter tubes to fit into a larger diameter rotor cell.

Relative Centrifugal Force (RCF): Tube volume is only one consideration; Technical specifications are another. Centrifuge tubes are not all created equally. Factors such as g-force tolerance, wall thickness and packaging vary widely. The force tubes can withstand is calculated in RCF (or G-force) and is measured in Xg (times gravity). The actual RCF of a specific tube varies depending on the centrifuge you use (fixed angle vs. swinging bucket rotor) and the size of the rotor. Looking at the Xg rating of specific tubes can help you gage the quality of the tube (higher Xg = higher quality). Using a low-quality tube can lead to softening, swelling, stress-cracks or worse.

Sterility: When shopping for sterile tubes, the most important thing to consider is how the tubes were sterilized. Ethylene oxide (EtO) or gas sterilization was extremely common years ago but is now much less prevalent. Exposure to EtO gas is also potentially harmful and can compromise the integrity of your sample if there is any chemical residue left from the sterilization process. When it comes to centrifuge tubes, gamma sterilization is the gold standard. It is the most successful at eradicating DNA and ensures that no chemical residue might be present on your labware.

Purity: Purchasing tubes that are certified RNase, DNase, and pyrogen free further ensure that the tubes are safe to use in microbiology applications. Tube purification methods and certifications vary between vendors, so It is important to double check the data sheet before using the tube. (For information about sterility or purity certifications on any of the products we carry, you can always contact us at sales@ultident.com)

Cap Type: Some screw caps come with secure locks which prevent accidental openings during “high spin” centrifugation or easy pierce caps which have a thin membrane allowing for easy sample access by needle. Screw caps can be sold separately from tubes to allow for more customization so be sure to buy the right cap or ensure the tube you are buying includes the cap itself. Be sure that both the tube and the cap are autoclavable if the end user plans to autoclave both. 

Temperature Resistance: Different brands offer different temperature resistance on their tubes. Tubes that can handle extreme temperatures (Autoclavable to 121°C and freezable to -80°C) are generally higher quality than tubes that cannot. Since many labs buy one tube to be used for many applications it’s best to buy tubes that can handle the most extreme conditions.

Packaging: Centrifuge tubes come in either bulk or racked packaging.  Bulk tubes come in a plastic bag and we recommend choosing tubes that come in resealable bags in order to keep your tubes clean. If you are buying racked tubes, recyclable paper racks offer organization and cleanliness while also reducing your lab’s waste. 

Light Sensitivity: Relatively new to the world of centrifuge tubes and still uncommon are black centrifuge tubes, manufactured to be completely opaque. These black tubes are designed for applications involving light sensitive samples, such as staining samples for analysis. If no black tubes are available, aluminum foil is often used to protect light-sensitive samples. 

How do PROgene® centrifuge tubes measure up to the competition?

Relative Centrifugal Force: At Ultident Scientific, our tubes are engineered to be leakproof and are rated for the g-force requirements of life sciences and clinical labs alike. Our 15 mL tubes have a max centrifugation speed of 16,000 Xg and our 50 mL tubes have a max centrifugation speed of 12,000 Xg.

Sterility + Purity: PROgene® centrifuge tubes are gamma sterilized and certified RNase, DNase, and pyrogen-free. This level of purity makes them an obvious choice for research and clinical labs alike. PROgene® centrifuge tubes are manufactured to the highest standards and can be used with confidence.

Temperature Resistance: PROgene® centrifuge tubes can be used down to -80°C. When freezing, please do not fill our tubes beyond 90% of their listed capacity and ensure that the threads and screw caps are completely dry before closing.

Packaging: PROgene® centrifuge tubes are available in bulk, paper racked or polypropylene racked formats. All are packaged in heavy-gauge, resealable bags. If you want the convenience of racked tubes, recyclable paper racks or reusable polypropylene racks are great options. Regardless of your application, PROgene® centrifuge tubes are up to the task.

With very few exceptions, our PROGENE 71-Series Centrifuge tubes fulfill the purity, quality, RCF and packaging requirements of every lab. Click here to browse our 71-Series tubes or contact us today at sales@ultident.com

 
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