The HDA-GT12, short for high-performance DNA analyzer for genotyping on 12 channels, replaces time-consuming slab gel electrophoresis methods, used to separate segments of DNA.
Slab gel electrophoresis, a technology that was developed more than 20 years ago and has not undergone a major facelift since its inception, requires extensive manual manipulation and hours or days of tedious procedures that are prone to human errors. These methods also lack high-throughput capabilities, detection sensitivity, and resolution.
In contrast, capillary electrophoresis technology produces accurate results in minutes. Capillary electrophoresis systems use a strong electric field to separate molecules within narrow capillaries, making them suitable for DNA sequencing, mutation/polymorphism analysis, genetic profiling screening, and bacterial/virus DNA testing. Most commercial capillary electrophoresis instruments, however, are large and expensive. The operation and reagents needed to run them are costly.
The HDA-GT12 was designed to overcome the disadvantages of current capillary electrophoresis instruments. The new system contains a low-cost, high-throughput, 12-channel replaceable gel-cartridge for rapid DNA separation and detection that can handle up to 2,400 samples. Furthermore, the disposable cartridge contains 12 short separation channels with a built-in consumable chemical reagent to simplify analysis. The reagents are stable at room temperature.
The HDA-GT12 is based on real-time multiplexed fluorescent detection with low-cost, solid-state light sources, or light emitting diodes, and micro-optical collectors. Simplifying the design of the optical detection system reduces the manufacturing cost and improves the reliability of the instrument. The cost of chemicals for each analysis is less than half that of slab gel systems. The instrument provides 12 test results in 5 minutes or 96 results in 60 minutes, compared to 3 hours with slab gel methods.
By getting data in hours instead of days, you can do more experiments and progress faster, says Amirkhanian, director of R&D.
To operate the system, the user simply inserts a cartridge, loads a sample tray, and pushes the start button. The BioCalculator software controls the operation of the instrument and data analysis. Operators can choose electropherogram and gel-view formats for genetic identification and characterization analysis.
In addition, the HDA-GT12 can accommodate 96 samples. This allows microarray users to check the quality and quantity of their amplified multiplex DNA fragments before advancing to microchip detection. The rapid and reproducible quantitative DNA analysis is especially suitable for PCR-amplified DNA products. We advertise ourselves as a post-PCR analysis tool, says Dr. Liu.
The company also offers a GCK-RNA QC (Quality Control) Gel Cartridge Kit for the HDA-GT12 system to perform RNA sample quality checks prior to gene expression analyses. The kit checks the quality of total RNA, poly A, RNA, cRNA, cDNA, fragmented RNA, or cDNA prior to performing Northern blots, real-time PCR, microarray and microchip hybridization assays, or cDNA library constructions. The integrity of RNA samples is crucial for gene expression analysis, since it has a tremendous effect on downstream analysis, says Dr. Liu.