Polynucleotide Synthesizer Model 280, Solid Phase MicroprocessorController Model 100B
Polynucleotide Synthesizer Model 280, Solid Phase Microprocessor/Controller Model 100B
- Description (Brief)
- In the late 1970s the growing field of genetics created a demand for made-to-order short-chain DNA molecules, known as polynucleotides. These designer stretches of DNA were important laboratory tools. Scientists used them both as probes to find specific DNA sequences in a larger genome and as the building blocks of custom genes for genetic engineering. Building polynucleotides by hand in the lab, however, was expensive, time consuming, and boring work.
- In December 1980 Vega Biotechnologies introduced the first polynucleotide synthesizer or “gene machine,” which automated production of short DNA chains. The machine lowered the time needed to make a fifteen-base strand of DNA from several months to about a day, greatly reducing the price of customized DNA for research and industry. The instrument consisted of two parts: a chemistry unit and a computer unit. The chemistry unit assembled DNA using solid-phase chemistry techniques. The computer unit controlled the reaction and could be programmed with the desired DNA sequence for synthesis.
- Joseph A. Menosky, “Cheap, Fast Designer Genes,” The Washington Post, September 6, 1981, C1.
- Untitled Essay by Leon E. Barstow, President of Vega Biotechnologies, from Accession File.
- Accession File 1984.0719, National Museum of American History.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- solid phase microprocessor/controller (100B), polynucleotide synthesizer
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Science & Scientific Instruments
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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