Product News: Applied Biosystems launches StepOnePlus™ Real-Time PCR System

03 Sep 2007

Applied Biosystems, an Applera Corporation business, today announced it has introduced a new system in the StepOne family of products, the StepOnePlus™ Real-Time PCR System. Enhancements made to the StepOnePlus System include a 96-well block, which doubles the number of wells compared to the entry-level StepOne System, and the ability to use TAMRA™ dyes in addition to the FAM™, SYBR® green, and VIC® dye chemistries available with the basic StepOne System. An upgrade option to StepOnePlus will be available to current StepOne customers later this year.

Applied Biosystems designed the StepOne and StepOnePlus Systems with user-friendly, yet highly functional interfaces for both new and experienced real-time PCR researchers. These systems offer a space-saving footprint and relatively lower cost than previously available real-time PCR systems.

The StepOne and StepOnePlus Systems were developed in response to the growing market of researchers interested in the increasing number of applications of real-time PCR, a common laboratory method used to simultaneously detect and determine the amount of nucleic acids present in biological samples. The systems can perform both standard and fast thermal cycling for any real-time PCR application, such as gene expression analysis, SNP genotyping, gene detection, and viral load analysis.

Among the features of the StepOne and StepOnePlus Systems that make these instruments easier to use is intuitive software that simplifies their operation. Beginning users benefit from wizards that can be tailored to run specific experiments and guide new users through set up, operation, and analysis. More experienced users can customise experiment design parameters such as thermal cycling protocols and nucleic acid template types.

“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.”

The StepOne instruments can be connected to a local area network, making it possible for researchers to participate in distributed research collaborations, such as those commonly conducted in academic and public research environments. This promotes the sharing of data across laboratories, making information more accessible to larger groups of scientists. These same networking capabilities empower researchers to download data from remote locations, streamlining the task of monitoring the progress of experiments.

In addition to offering higher throughput, the StepOnePlus System includes VeriFlex™ Blocks technology, which brings six independently controllable peltier blocks together for precise temperature control and enhanced PCR functionality. VeriFlex Blocks deliver flexibility for those who have probes and primers that are optimised at different annealing temperatures.

The StepOne and StepOnePlus Systems are part of the family of real-time PCR systems offered by Applied Biosystems for laboratories of all sizes. For production-scale sample throughput, Applied Biosystems offers the 7900HT Fast Real-Time PCR System. For mid-to-high sample throughput researchers can choose from the 7300 Real-Time PCR System, 7500 Real-Time PCR System, or 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System. To support these platforms, Applied Biosystems has pre-designed more than 700,000 TaqMan® Gene Expression Assays and more than 4.5 million TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays. Complementing these off-the-shelf products are custom TaqMan® Assays, which are available for customer-specific gene expression or genotyping assays.