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J Biomol Tech. 2000 Mar;11(1):1-11.

Biotechnology core laboratories: An overview.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.


An assessment of the capabilities of biotechnology core facilities requires access to current data on state-of-the-art technologies, personnel, space, services, financial issues, and the demand for such facilities. Data on these topics should be useful to researchers, facility personnel, administrators, and granting agencies.To obtain such data, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) conducted a general survey on the operation and technical capabilities of core facilities. A total of 81 ABRF core laboratories voluntarily responded to the survey. Just over 60% of the respondents were from academic institutions, with the remaining located in research institutes, industry, and one U.S. government laboratory. Fifty laboratories provided financial data, with 47 of these operating on a nonprofit basis. Four laboratories were fully self-supporting from user fees.A typical facility had three full-time staff members and occupied approximately 1100 square feet (ft(2)). The most frequently offered services were N-terminal protein sequencing, protein fragmentation, peptide synthesis and purification, amino acid analysis, DNA synthesis, and DNA sequencing. One third of the facilities provided mass analysis by matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry, a recently introduced service that has been offered on an average for 3 years. Another relatively new service, bioinformatics support, is offered by about one third of the responding laboratories.


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