Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PCR directly from blood

In the past year a major hurdle in PCR seems to have been conquered. Blood is an easy and source for all types of genetic testing, however the presence of inhibitors requires the extraction of DNA prior to performing PCR. Many labs have to store the genetic material for archiving purposes, and so DNA extraction seems a logical way to proceed. However, at least two companies have figured out a way of performing PCR directly from blood, and one of these can actually do it from archived blood on guthrie cards. The first comany, Finnzymes uses the phusion enzyme developed by MJ Research's R&D unit MJ Bioworks to amplify directly from blood and tissue. The second, Kapa Biosystems, uses a novel DNA polymerase that can do the same thing, but also from guthrie cards.

In addition to these enzymes, some companies have developed buffers that give limited success. These include Klentaq, and Epicenter. Kapa still seems to have the widest use, as it can be used in EDTA blood (which by it's nature would normally chelate the Magnesium). It looks like genetic engineering of these proteins will simplify further genetic analysis for all of us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Biotech salaries

Here is a summary of our latest survey, which asked questions about salaries in the Biotech world:

Highest Degree: 28% BSc, 21% MSc, 18% PhD, 21% Post-Doc

Time in workforce: 6% <1 year, 9% 1-4 years, 30% 5-9 years, 54% 10+years

Position: 14% Lab Tech, 5% Lab Manager, 4% Grad Student/Post-Doc, 21% Middle Manager (Product/Sales/Marketing), 20% Senior Manager, 8% Executive Manager

Total Compensation (salary + bonus/Commission if any): 8% $25-$50K; 24% $50-$75K, $27% were $75-$100K; 21% were $100K-150K; and a lucky 18% were over $150K. Good for them.

All Salaries were in US dollars, assuming 1:1 for Canada, 1:1.5 for Euros, and 1:2 for Pounds.

The majority of the respondents were from the US at 71% and England at 9%. Canada, Europe, and other countries made up the balance.

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