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J Struct Funct Genomics. 2010 Sep;11(3):211-21. doi: 10.1007/s10969-010-9092-9. Epub 2010 Jun 6.

To automate or not to automate: this is the question.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 22908, USA.


New protocols and instrumentation significantly boost the outcome of structural biology, which has resulted in significant growth in the number of deposited Protein Data Bank structures. However, even an enormous increase of the productivity of a single step of the structure determination process may not significantly shorten the time between clone and deposition or publication. For example, in a medium size laboratory equipped with the LabDB and HKL-3000 systems, we show that automation of some (and integration of all) steps of the X-ray structure determination pathway is critical for laboratory productivity. Moreover, we show that the lag period after which the impact of a technology change is observed is longer than expected.

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