3Prime has announced a 'back-to-school' promotion that entitles users to discounts of up to 60 per cent on orders for three of its oligo synthesis products until the end of October. The product lines included are: Prime Performance CPG; Retro Columns and Molecular Traps. Applied Biosystems has launched a new system into its StepOne family of real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) systems, the StepOnePlus. The system doubles the number of wells to 96 compared with the entry level version as well as enabling the use of TAMRA dyes in addition to the FAM, SYBR green and VIC dye chemistries that can be used with the current StepOne. An aftermarket upgrade from the StepOne to the StepOnePlus should be available to customers later this year. "The overall design of the StepOne and StepOnePlus Systems was a strategic focus in the development of these products," said John Gerace, vice-president and general manager for Applied Biosystems' sequence detection systems business unit. "Understanding that this may be a customer's first introduction to real-time PCR, we wanted to make the technology as accessible and approachable as possible." Applied Biosystems has also expanded its portfolio of services for Mass Spectrometry (MS) instrument systems to include a maintenance program for high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) systems manufactured by Agilent Technologies, a software validation consulting service for laboratories working in regulated environments and an expanded remote web-based instrument monitoring and diagnosis system. Millipore has made a new, free of charge "Cell Signaling Products and Applications Guide" available. The guide includes dozens of signalling pathways, technical pathways and an extensive troubleshooting section as well as thousands of cell signalling products that the company gained with its acquisition of Upstate. Olympus has introduced a comprehensive range of advanced arc burner light sources for all levels of fluorescent work that feature unique power control to ensure stability and longer bulb lifetimes. According to the company, the top of the range MT20 provides peerless illumination functionality for high-speed, multi-colour, live cell research. Roche Diagnostics and 454 Life Sciences have released two new plate formats and upgraded software for its ultra high throughput Genome Sequencer FLX System. The new plates expand the versatility of the system and include a 'short read' (100 base pair) kit that produces 30-40MB of data per run and a 'long read' (250-300 base pair) kit in a small plate format. The expansion helps to increase the versatility of the system while optimising cost, coverage and time to result. The analysis software for the system has also been updated and will be provided at no charge to current GS FLX customers. Symbion Systems will provide its products to the academic community at deeply discounted prices. Academic licenses of its multi spectrometer and instrument interface, Symbion LX, are now priced at $795 each, with site licenses offered at $2995 per year. Symbion LX can operate and integrate many different spectrometers and other analytical instruments via a single, comprehensive and configurable user interface. Thermo Fisher Scientific has launched a 'reading room' website for microplate reader users and provides interactive tools and supporting materials. The room should ensure that scientists can make informed choices about Thermo Scientific's growing range of microplate readers and accessories.