Caliper increases gene expression analysis throughput

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gene expression Dna Caliper

Caliper Life Sciences has launched a new high throughput (HT)
microfluidic assay that automates RNA quality and concentration
assessment for gene expression analysis.

The new gene expression assay is designed to work on Caliper's LabChip 90 electrophoresis platform that can also be used for DNA and protein analysis and aims to ensure that researchers only conduct microarray and RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) gene expression experiments on high quality samples. The use of high quality RNA in gene expression experiments is critical to their success, as degraded RNA contains impurities that perform badly in the enzymatic reactions that are used to generate the cDNA (complimentary DNA). "Gene expression analysis has become a key tool for new target identification, lead optimization, and even for toxicological profiling,"​ said Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO of Caliper. "The new HT RNA assay, which compliments our existing LC 90 DNA and protein assays, will allow researchers to produce a larger amount of significantly higher quality gene expression data." ​ According to the company, the assay produces highly reproducible data in less time than traditional methods, which can give variable results. "The standard older tools [used for purification] such as slab electrophoresis are notoriously non-standard and difficult to share across sites,"​ said Dr Mark Roskey, vice president for applied biology at Caliper. "These tools are being replaced by capillary electrophoresis and most recently Caliper's microfluidics approaches." ​ The assay determines the integrity of purified RNA samples in 384 well plates by separating the RNA components in the electrophoretic chip and digitally scanning the concentrations of the 5s, 18s and 28s ribonulceotide RNAs. The ratio of these gives an indication of the quality of the sample. According to Dr Roskey, the new assay has been released in order to address one of the fundamental causes in the productivity decline in the pharmaceutical industry - the gap between in vitro​ technologies used to identify potential drugs and the assays used to analyse in vivo​ studies. While there are several tools already on the market for conducting these experiments, such as Agilent's 2100 Bioanalyser, Caliper believes this latest release enables higher throughput than ever before. According to the company, the instrument can achieve a throughput of up 300 samples a day with full walk-away automation. In addition, the assay cost per well is low, with costs ranging from $1.50 (€1.08) to $0.65 per well with only 2µl of sample required to conduct the analysis. This ensures that the majority of the sample is reserved for further analysis.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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