Qiagen (Qiagen, Valencia, CA, USA) has six different robotic systems for clinical research applications to extract nucleic acids from a variety of specimens. Other robotic systems are available for additional research applications. These automated extraction systems can be used with a variety of PCR and real-time PCR instruments for nucleic acid detection. The systems offered for clinical use are designed to accommodate laboratories depending on their specimen volume needs. The BioRobot EZ1 workstation can purify nucleic acids from 1 to 6 samples using prefilled EZ1 DNA and RNA kits that are available in cards. The BioRobot M48 and M96 can process up to 48 and 96 samples per run, respectively. These two systems use the MagAttract magnetic particle technology for DNA extraction and ultraviolet lights to decontaminate surfaces between runs. The BioRobot MDx workstation can process 8 to 96 samples and is equipped with vacuum processing to eliminate the need for centrifugation that was present with the earlier BioRobot 9604. The MDx system uses bar coding for specimen tracking. High-throughput testing is optimal with the BioRobot 9604, which is equipped to run QIAmp protocols for the extraction of DNA and RNA and has barcode specimen tracking. The Qiagen BioRobot has been evaluated for both DNA and RNA viruses and the extraction efficiency found to be equivalent to manual methods (Espy et al., 2001; Knepp et al., 2003; Forman and Valsamakis, 2004; Xu et al., 2004).
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