With many of the new designs and options in DNA sequencers from top manufacturers such as Applied Biosystems and Illumina, the demands on technicians are reduced. This means that the testing is fully automated, eliminating human error that can lead to many problems during the process.
However, even with the top genetic sequencer, there are still some important issues to consider to ensure the quality of results. In general, there are two common problems with any test results, and they include the incorrect use of the primer as well as using the best quality in DNA as the template.
Quality Template Issues
As with any type of testing situation, the end results are a direct correlation to the original material. When the genetic template or the original DNA is compromised, not collected using the appropriate protocols or when the incorrect prep kit is used, the genetic sequencer is already at a disadvantage.
It is essential to follow all collection protocols and the specific miniprep and extraction methods. Always use new columns and never recycle to avoid any type of contamination.
While the genetic sequencer will handle the process based on the settings the technician inputs, the incorrect choice of primer is something that the tech needs to be careful to avoid. Primers should always be checked and analyzed before use and meet the correct characteristics for the specific sequencing requirements.
Simple issues can also occur that can be devastating to the results. For example, failure to dilute the template DNA correctly or to use the wrong concentration or volume in the sequencer will always result in incomplete and inaccurate results. Taking the time to double check all aspects of the system before starting the sequencing can help to catch errors and prevent the need to repeat the process.