Hamilton Robotics Partners with Coastal Genomics to Introduce Innovative Technologies to Automate Agarose Gel DNA Fragment Selection

20 Jan 2014
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At the annual Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) meeting Hamilton Robotics has announced a partnership with Coastal Genomics to launch the new Microlab® NIMBUS® Select workstation with Ranger Technology. The new automated workstation provides a faster and more economical automated solution to agarose gel selection of DNA fragments, generating high-quality material for downstream use in next-generation sequencing (NGS), cloning and gene synthesis applications.

The partnership with Coastal Genomics has enabled Hamilton Robotics to access an innovative technology, validated at one of the world’s largest genome centers, and expands the applications available on the NIMBUS workstation. Ranger Technology targets DNA and isolates fractions with high sensitivity and accuracy; recovery yields typically exceed 80% of the intrinsic content in the targeted range.

“The workstation offers high quality, gel-based size selection at a scale that meets the demands of any lab," explained Matthew Nesbitt, President of Coastal Genomics. "However, it also generates analytics that can be used to assess the input sample both before and after the size selection event. This feature could consolidate multiple processes into a single run with Ranger Technology.”

Agarose gel size selection is a key component in sample preparation and quality control used throughout the life sciences. By automating pipetting steps, the NIMBUS Select Workstation with Ranger Technology eliminates manual gel preparation, which is considered one of the most labor-intensive and error-prone steps. In an average two-hour run, the workstation can accurately process up to 96 samples and then place the fragments in destination labware.

Coastal Genomics’ technology has been successfully validated to size select thousands of DNA samples processed by a major scientific research center in British Columbia. The center has effectively eliminated manual agarose gel size selection for multiple sequencing protocols for sample types involving microRNA, genomic DNA and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.

The NIMBUS Select Workstation with Ranger Technology offers numerous performance and quality control benefits over manual processing and other automated platforms. As an open automation platform, the workstation can be used for many applications and works with multiple NGS instrument manufacturers. The NIMBUS instrument's 96-channel CO-RE head provides an unmatched pipetting dynamic range of 1µL to 1,000µL.

Because sample processing does not always come in precise 96-sample batches, the workstation has the built-in flexibility to automate workflows from one to 96 samples at a time. Quality control metrics, including individual gel images and electropherogram traces, are captured for each sample.

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Sarah Thomas
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