Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc, Hercules, Calif, a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, announced the launch of a Digital Biology Center to focus on the development of innovative new products based on the company’s recently acquired droplet partitioning technology. The first product based on this technology, Bio-Rad’s QX100™ Droplet Digital™ PCR system, applies a sample partitioning technology to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and offers a new approach to nucleic acid quantification.

PCR is widely used to amplify and quantify nucleic acids. Droplet digital PCR offers researchers a new level of precision in the quantification of target nucleic acid molecules, providing accurate determination of copy number variation as well as the detection of rare mutation events such as those seen in certain tumors. Applications of these capabilities have the potential to provide new strategies for diagnosis of inherited disorders, cancer, and infectious disease.

The QX100 Droplet Digital PCR system (ddPCR™) provides an absolute measure of target DNA molecules with precision, accuracy, and sensitivity for quantitative PCR applications. The Droplet Digital PCR system is the third-generation of PCR technology and provides a new approach to target DNA quantification. The QX100 droplet generator partitions samples into 20,000 nanoliter-sized droplets. After PCR on a thermal cycler, droplets from every sample are streamed in single file on the QX100 droplet reader. The PCR-positive and PCR-negative droplets are counted to provide absolute quantification of target DNA in digital form, detecting rare DNA target copies with sensitivity and determining copy number variation with accuracy.