When Purchasing an Automatic Sequencer is Worth?

Operator root at gene.cinvestav.mx
Tue May 10 11:54:37 EST 1994

Dear Netters,

	I hope this is not a FAQ (altough I have been looking before trying
to find it). We are seriously considering purchasing an autometed sequencer.
However, since we are not really involved in any geneome sequence project,
and it will be used only to support the work of five research teams at our
Department, we wonder if it is going to be only a luxury machine, with a
high maintenance cost and perhaps shut down a big fraction of the year. I have
read a previous disscusion on the logistics of using ABI sequencers in a multiuser
enviroment, as well as opinions in favour of ABI machines verses Pharmacia. However,
I believe this point has not been settled.

	I would appreciate any comments on when it is really worth to buy such
a machine (considering it is very expensive), how many bases per week justify
the purchase, how expensive is the maintenance, and how much downtime it may
have due to technical problems, user learning or malfunction. Our sequencing 
involves usually the sequencing of a few genes per month, and checking mutagene-
sis or clonings. I suppose that while we are doing now little sequencing, having
the opportunity of using the machine will increase the number of bases per month
we are doing now. Since we are located at Mexico City, we also do not expect
that service will be fast either from ABI (a better bet) or Pharmacia. Also, 
we expect that machine and maintenance contracts should be more expensive in 
Mexico. How about the Millipore machine; less expensive and cumbersome for a
small facility? Others?

	On the other hand, I asked a few people invoved in medium size genome
sequencing, and I was amazed to find thet they have just one or two machines,
and most sequencing they are doing is by hand. The reason seems to be the high
cost of purchasing and running several machines, and the down time. Any
comments on this?

	Due to intermitent problems with my Internet gateway I was cut from
my BIOSCI subscription for the momment, and thus I would appreciate that any 
comments be sent to my personal E-Mail address BESIDES positing to this group.

	Thanks a lot.

	Francisco M. De La Vega
	Assistant Professor
	Dept. of Genetics and Molecular Biology
	Mexico D.F. 07000, MEXICO
	Tel: 754-0200; Fax: 752-6330
	E-Mail: fvega at gene.cinvestav.mx

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