In the past several years there has clearly been a rise in demand for DNA analysis. With more samples being submitted to forensic laboratories for testing, and advances in technology, automation has become a necessity for crime laboratories, since there is not enough manpower to keep up with the ever-growing caseload.
Automation offers a more consistent approach, with better reproducibility of the data, by allowing robotics to carry-out much of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks, which in turn minimizes human error. This hands-free process also increases the productivity of the technician, therefore helping to systemize and streamline the forensic casework workflow.
There are three types of throughput commonly seen in a forensic casework laboratory: low-, medium- and high-throughput. High-throughput workflows are typically better suited for batching of large numbers of samples, as seen in database laboratories. Casework laboratories that process hundreds to thousands of samples a month also may consider medium- to high-throughput automation options. However, it is important to note that there are smaller-scale platforms available for small casework laboratories or for those that do not process such a great number of samples.
These low- to medium-throughput extraction platforms can run up to 16 samples per run, thus allowing for a more rapid and efficient extraction process than manual manipulation. In addition, the footprint on these instruments is significantly smaller, making them more ideal for laboratories where space is a limiting factor.
The EZ1 Advanced XL is a low to medium-throughput robotic extraction system that enables nucleic acid purification from a wide range of forensic samples. This small workstation is fast, reliable and utilizes pre-programmed protocol cards along with one-time use reagent cartridges.
This publication evaluated three automated extraction platforms, all of which utilize a variation of the bind-wash-elute extraction method. Check out the article, and see how the EZ1 Advanced XL stacks up to its competitors, the AutoMate Express™ and Maxwell® 16!