advice on oligo and peptide synthesis

Jim Kling jkling at nasw.org
Mon May 5 04:33:23 EST 1997

Hi all-

I am writing an article for The Scientist ( on 
peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis, both custom synthesis and 
synthesizer instrumentation.

I'd like to solicit opinions from the researchers out there who use 
these instruments or services.  Please respond to me via email 
(jkling at nasw.org) and include your full name, title, and specialty 
(ie, microbiologist, immunologist, synthesis lab tech, etc).  

Also, I need to hear from you by Monday, May 12 at the latest, ideally 
earlier than that.  Monday is may deadline for this article.  Thanks!

The questions:

1) Why choose custom synthesis over the purchase of a synthesis 
instrument?  Clearly cost is a factor: is there a threshold at which a 
researcher should consider buying an instrument (ie, if he or she is 
order x number of custom peptides per week, its time to think about 
investing in an instrument).  Are there other factors besides cost to 

2) What do you look for in a custom supplier?  How do factors like 
cost, purity, speed of delivery stack up?  Which of these is most 
important?  Which the least?  Are there other factors besides these 

3) What are the common features of oligonucleotide and peptide 
synthesizers?  What features on yours do you like the most?  Which 
features do you wish it had and why?

4) What trends do you see in synthesis instruments?  Are there 
particular features or designs that are gaining in popularity, or 
others that seem to be fading?  

5) Are there trends in research that are affecting the design of the 
synthesizers -- ie, for example is the human genome project driving 
development of automated synthesizers -- if so, what are companies 
doing to meet those needs?

6) Same question as #5, but applied to custom peptide and 
oligonucleotide synthesis.

Jim Kling
science/medical writing
Bellingham, WA 
jkling at pacificrim.net 

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