Since the very first development, which happened nearly 20 years ago, molecular biology kits have been evolving since then from simple protocols and reagents for cloning DNA to more recent complex reagent sets that will start the whole genomic sequencing. It has initially met with resistance from some, who have felt that using them deprived researchers of the basic knowledge of creating reagents. Molecular biology kits have a crucial role in the field of biological sciences.
You might have walked into a molecular biology laboratory and seen shelves, refrigerators, and freezers that are filled with reagents and biochemical. Also, you might find boxes and containers from reagent and instrumentation companies which include detailed instructions with helpful hints, and most importantly, you will see protocols for use. Keep reading this blog, and you will get to know more about the kits and how they play a unique role in molecular biology.
What Is A Molecular Biology Kit?
In its simplest form, a kit has more than one component and a set of instructions on how to use it. But there’s one question, how do we define a kit in the molecular biology universe? We would say that a kit is operationally defined as highly-functional and compact.
Firstly, there’s a set of one more reagent that have input materials, and there are instructions that are used as a guide that an individual researcher will be performing the same reactions for the input materials. Secondly, the transformation of the input materials and the obtaining of identical end result each time the input material is similar.
The characteristics of a good kit include easy-to-use, clear instructions, a helpful troubleshooting guide, and rapid protocol. On top of that, reliability and reproducibility are a must for the kit. It might be as complex or as simple as a DNA ligation kit that has few reagents and controls.
A kit for site-directed toxins would be an accurate example of a complex kit. Even a buffer that is sold with a restriction enzyme is also a kit if it comes with a set of instructions for using it. During the early phases of molecular biology, many restriction enzymes were sold without their associated buffers.
Most of the researchers have made their own buffers and different solutions for each enzyme. For instance, universal buffers and low-, medium-, and high-salt buffers are the latest inventions.
If the researchers are using better laboratory procedures, firstly, they have to test the buffers, enzymes, and DNA for proper digestion. As of now, standardized buffers are supplied with enzymes, and they come prepackaged with reagent kits, which has now eliminated the need for users to control the quality.
Modern-day kit manufacturers aren’t among the ones who were present in the early years. Most of the ads in the journal’s very first two volumes offered medical and cell-fusion equipment with separations media and specific chemicals. Back in 1983, many companies had put together kits for M13 cloning, exonuclease deletion, and riboprobes (Promega). All of them were promoted mainly in their catalogs.
After two years, Promega ads in BioTechniques offered a system for making riboprobes that used the company’s pGem vectors. There was another trend after 1985 that the equipment advertisements were increasingly focused and targeted to molecular biology. Centrifuges, DNA synthesizers, microscopes, and power supplies, to name a few. This reflected this journal’s growing influence among biology lab researchers.
In the early phases, many manufacturers avoided using the word ‘kit.’ Instead, they used to write ‘systems’ for performing or developing certain applications. In the modern era, any recent issue of journals carries many ads that promote the new and latest streamlined ways for performing complicated molecular biology products. Now, they are labeled as kits. You can check kits and safeview from our collection at MBP Inc.
Opposition to Kits
Twenty-five years ago, academics were debating over the fact that these kits would be the beginning of the decline of graduate education. Many mentors felt that the graduate students lost something whenever they performed experiments using the kits they bought from stores instead of assembling their own materials and reagents.
Many teachers at that time feared that the students would lose a deeper understanding of the enzymology and basic nature of the work when all they did was simply follow the instructions and directions on the package.
Furthermore, there were also economic concerns about the kits. Many people had questions about it. It was all about whether it is worth investing in the kits when the reagents can be made in-house. Many modern researchers’ devotion to today’s kits suggests they will consider purchasing consistent reagents and tested protocols.
If a kit is well-developed, users have to be confident about it, and they need to follow the directions and instructions. This is how they will obtain the desired results.
Troubleshooting and Controls
It is almost impossible to eliminate every potential problem, which is why most of the kits are always supplied with control reagents; for instance, competent cells might come with plasmid DNA. If you use these supplied controls properly, then you will be able to troubleshoot problems.
In the multistep kits, it is crucial to include steps that are not time-dependent. In the early stages of the 1980s, some developers thought that there was no step during the procedure that had to be shorter than 15 min. Researchers would have to take their own shortcuts.
Over the last ten years, many kit developers have learned that ‘speed sells.’ There’s a 10-minute restriction enzyme that digests with 5-min ligation kits and 10-min cell transformations, and 1-day procedures for completing proper genome sequencing.
Now that you know about the early phases of the kits and the modern-day kits which are used in the molecular biology field, you can easily use them in your research. They will help you with your procedures at the laboratory. Speaking of laboratories, if you are looking for safegreen, glassware, or any other lab equipment, then you can check MBP Inc. for it.