Automation and Robotics Technologies Can Help Increase Efficiency in the qPCR Process

Seeking efficiency in the qPCR process a number of automation and robotics technologies have been added to product offerings from top competitors. This is one factor driving the usefulness of this workhorse lab technology, according to Kalorama Information.

The total qPCR market is valued at about $3.2 billion for 2013, according to the healthcare market research publisher. This is up from $2.8 billion in 2011, an increase of 5.9%. The report was made in the firm's new report qPCR and dPCR: Research and Clinical Markets, from Kalorama Information.

In the qPCR arena, robots can provide the precision needed to run smaller reactions. This can reduce cost by stretching reagents and samples much further by 25-50%. Robots also can save time because robots typically require less time to prepare reactions. Typically, robots that are used for qPCR are smaller in size, are single channel and have at least six separate spaces on the robot deck. The robot should have a hood over the surface to cut down on contamination. The report says that software is critical to the function of the robot in the qPCR setting.

"Robots bring speed and precision to PCR," said Mary Anne Crandall, Kalorama analyst and the author of the report. "These, in turn, are expected to bring cost savings. Because of the advantages of robotics in qPCR, it is anticipated that the market will become increasingly automated and robots will become standard in the qPCR laboratory."

Agilent, Eppendorf, Life Technologies, Hudson Robotics are among the companies that provide robot qPCR services.

qPCR is the gold standard of molecular biology and most laboratories either possess a qPCR instrument or have access to one. Because it has become such a popular technology, laboratories produce a huge number of reactions daily requiring highly skilled personnel to set up and run the operations. Because there are differences between operators and between laboratories, there can be big differences when pipetting a DNA or RNA sample. This can translate into questionable reproducibility. Robots can provide the precision necessary to address these issues.


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