Prep Track. Developed at the Berkeley Lab, Prep Track is a high-throughput, microtiter-plate, liquid-handling robotic system for automating DNA preparation procedures. Microtiter plates are fetched from cassettes, moved to one of two conveyor belts, and transported to protocol-defined modules. Plates are moved continuously and automatically through the system as each module simultaneously processes plates in the module lift stations. The plates exit the system and are stored in microtiter-plate cassettes.
Modules include a station capable of dispensing liquids in volumes from as low as 5 microliters to several milliliters, four 96-channel pipettors, and the plate-fetching module. Each module is controlled independently by programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The overall system is controlled by a personal computer and a Visual Basic Control master that determines the order in which plates are processed. The actions of each lift station and dispenser or pipettor are determined locally by programs resident in each module's PLC. The Visual Basic Control program moves the plates through the system based on the predefined protocol and on module status reports as monitored by PLCs.
The current belt length on the Prep Track supports eight standard modules, which can be reconfigured to any order. Standardization of mechanical, electrical, and communication components allows new modules to be designed and manufactured easily. The current standard module footprint is 250 mm wide, 600 mm deep, and 250 mm to the conveyor belt deck. The first protocol to be implemented on Prep Track will be polymerase chain reaction setups, with sequence-reaction setups to follow.
Related Images: 96-Channel
Pipettor, Prep Track
The 1997 DOE Human Genome Program Report is a two-part
report published in 1997 to reflect research and progress in the U.S. Department
of Energy Human Genome Program from 1994 through 1996, with specified updates
made just before publication. Part 1 is the program overview and
report on progress, and Part 2 consists of 1996 research abstracts.