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The Use of Air-Cooled Argon Ion Lasers in Automated Genetic Analysis

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Significant advances in our understanding of biological function and dysfunction have been made possible over the last several years by the development of techniques to sequence and analyze DNA. Automation has been introduced to increase the speed and accuracy of such sequencing and analysis and to make the processes less laborious and less costly. Today, the method of choice of such automation utilizes laser excitation to detect, in real time, fluorescently labeled DNA fragments as they are electrophoretically driven through a separating gel medium (1). The fluorescence-based technology for analysis has been applied to many current problems in medical and biological research with great success. It is now routinely used in hundreds of laboratories worldwide to sequence DNA in a wide variety of biotechnology research projects including programs such as the Human Genome Initiative. Applications to the mapping and diagnosis of genetic disorders as well as to the use of DNA for forensic purposes have also been amply demonstrated (2,3). An even wider acceptance of the technology has unfortunately been significantly inhibited by its high price.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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