QIAxpert Game: Play to learn about sample quality control and to get a chance to win a QIAxpert!

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Determining the purity and concentration of nucleic acid samples is an essential application in molecular biology today. One of the greatest challenges is ensuring that each nucleic acid sample has an adequate concentration and that any chemical contaminants or other impurities are detected. Several analysis instruments are available for this purpose, including QIAGEN’s QIAxpert System. We created a fun way to learn about this system: the QIAxpert Game. To play, answer up to 7 questions correctly and as quickly as possible to increase your score. Invite your friends and colleagues to play using #nextqiaxpert and get extra points for doing so!  The participant with the highest score will be rewarded with an iPad. To be eligible to win a QIAxpert, all you have to do is register.

Let me give you a brief introduction to important aspects of quality control (QC) and how the QIAxpert System can accelerate DNA, RNA and protein quantification and QC — and, at the same time, help you improve your score in the QIAxpert Game.

QIAxpert is an innovative high-speed microfluidic UV/VIS spectrophotometer, which profiles sample content to allow differentiation of DNA, RNA and sample impurities. The QIAxpert eliminates repetitive drop-and-clean actions and avoids the risk of cross-contamination by using a microfluidic slide carrier, which also allows you to analyze up to 16 samples within 2 minutes. The QIAxpert virtual demo tool is available to explain various aspects of the instrument in more detail.

What are the key sample QC parameters?

Depending on the downstream application, four main quality parameters can be used to characterize the quality of your nucleic acid samples – purity, quantity, size distribution/integrity and sequence.

Although no instrument currently available provides a one-for-all solution for assessing these quality parameters, QIAGEN’s offering covers all QC needs.

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*V&V: verification and validation

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In a recently published white paper, we illustrated how two complementary technologies — UV/VIS spectrophotometry and capillary electrophoresis — provide both qualitative and quantitative measurement of nucleic acids from diverse sample types for use in a wide range of downstream applications. Additionally, our data suggests that this combinatorial approach can conveniently cover most critical sample QC requirements, providing you with peace of mind when performing data interpretation.

In addition, our R&D experts investigated the effect of guanidine salt concentration on the A260/A230 ratio and real-time RT-PCR. In this recently published application note, it was shown that the A260/A230 ratio of an RNA sample is strongly reduced when guanidine thiocyanate is present, even at submillimolar concentrations. However, our researchers also found that concentrations of guanidine thiocyanate of up to 100 mM in an RNA sample do not compromise the reliability of real-time RT-PCR, even when using PCR chemistries that are sensitive to inhibitors.

We hope that this additional information will help you when answering the game questions. We wish you good luck and — most of all — lots of fun! Play the QIAxpert Game now!

Kjell Kirschbaum

Kjell Kirschbaum, M.Sc., is a Global Market Manager based in QIAGEN’s Venlo office, the Netherlands. He trained as a bioveterinary scientist at the University of Utrecht and has hands-on experience in nucleic acid and protein purification, cell culture, PCR and qPCR technology. Kjell joined QIAGEN in 2011 as a CRM specialist, regularly interacting with customers about their day-to-day experimental needs and offering relevant solutions. Currently, he is involved in managing global projects for sample preparation and automation technologies.

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