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Why the ABRF of course!i-8b04187b7fb64bd408c576af1e9411ee-trace.gif

I spend a fair amount time every summer giving workshops for college and high-school teachers on genomics and bioinformatics. One of the things that always surprises them, is the amount of lab work that’s carried out by people working in shared, or core lab facilities. For example, if I was working at a research university and I wanted to sequence some DNA, maybe several patient samples, or a bacterial genome, I would send the DNA to a core lab and they would send me the sequences. I would analyze the data and write the paper.

I’ve simplified that process a bit in my description, but that’s more or less what happens.


Core labs work really well. You can provide access to expensive equipment that’s maintained by a staff of knowledgeable people and the research can benefit from the economy of scale.

In the case of DNA sequencing there is certainly a benefit.

Some DNA samples are more troublesome than others.

Luckily, when you have a group of people with members who sequence 25,000 DNA samples a month, or more, you also have a wealth of experience and knowledge that’s invaluable when you encounter that one strange sample.

I think the members of the Association for Biomedical Resource Facilities (ABRF) are well-known for their willingness to help. From poor quality DNA to mixed samples, to mysterious or missing primers, They’ve seen it all and are willing to share strategies for solving the problem.

One of the really nice things that’s come out of this desire to help, is the DNA sequencing Research Group’s guide to trouble-shooting sequencing problems.

Are your arrays behaving strangely? Do you have weird things happen after long stretches of the same base? Are your customers asking you to use new techniques for SNP detection?

The ABRF is the place to go.