OptiGene Limited has been developing instrumentation and reagents that support amplification and detection of DNA and RNA. This system enables simple operation, affordable ownership and portable use. The Genie II offers ultra-rapid amplification together with highly sensitive fluorescence detection within a single integrated platform.
The Horsham-based company has a wealth of experience, not only in instrument design and manufacture, but also in the research and development of novel chemistries and reagent systems. Genie II is the first commercial release and is a truly portable amplification platform. The device has two independent heating blocks allowing 16 samples to be amplified and simultaneously interrogated using a high-precision LED-based optical detection system. It is operated via a 7” touch screen panel and there is no need for a computer. The instrument has an A4 footprint, the total weight is below 2 kg and it operates on low power so the system really is suitable for ‘point of use’ applications.
The last 12 months have seen the Genie platform evaluated by UK Government laboratories and other biotechnology organisations. The reception has been extremely positive by all of the assessment groups. Most DNA amplification technology is based around the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which although widely accepted and understood by today’s scientists still proves to be a financial hurdle in respect of instrumentation and IP. OptiGene has adopted Isothermal Amplification with the benefits of single temperature operation and no need for thermal cycling. Therefore, the user is not reliant upon expensive cyclers and in many cases no DNA extraction is necessary. Time to result can be extremely rapid with target detection in as low as ten minutes or less for some applications. Consequently, this is a genuine alternative to PCR.
“Other techniques can be used to identify certain pathogens in the field, but identification at the species level requires a nucleic acid-based approach.”, said Duncan Clark, Director of OptiGene Limited. “The Genie II instrument, along with our reagents, satisfies the need for a practical and viable detection method.”