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The development of very high-throughput and autonomous robotic workstations will be necessary to quickly and efficiently complete the sequencing of the 3 billion nucleotide base pairs that make up the human genome. The key to our sequencing scale-up efforts is the development of the Sequencing Support System. The Sequencing Support System is an integrated robotic workstation built around a 3-meter rail robot. The Sequencing Support System is currently assembling cycle sequence reactions and thermal cycling and consolidating reactions. We are currently testing plaque picking and DNA purification methods that can be effectively and quickly integrated with our current platform. Our intent is to quickly develop and construct an autonomous high-throughput system that is replicatable for inclusive large-scale sequencing efforts. This integrated workstation will consist of the Sequencing Support System; a bank of automated sequencers; and a custom 192-channel oligo synthesizer, a vital instrument critical to labor intensive "finishing" efforts (sequencing methods directed at filling gaps and improving the quality of the produced DNA sequence). Each of these components are now operational as separate modules. Data transfer and assembly are automated in software on Mac and Sun computers. Our next system, currently in the planning phase, will be solely dedicated to automated high-throughput "finishing". The system will comprise the Sequencing Support System's components and will include a Beekman Biomek workstation specifically tasked to manipulate individual clones.
Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE (Volume:16 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: March-April 1997