It is widely acknowledged that modern cytogenetics began in 1955, with the discovery by Tjio and Levan (Lund, Sweden) that normal human cells contain 46 chromosomes. This discovery was aided by a new technique of slide preparation utilizing a hypotonic solution, which when added to a cell solution causes the cells to swell. When the cells are added to the slide after treatment with hypotonic solution the chromosomes spread out allowing for much easier enumeration. In the 60’s banding techniques were developed allowing chromosomes to also be differentiated, breakpoints and constituent chromosomes involved in chromosome translocations could be identified, and deletions within a chromosome could also now be more specifically named and understood.
Since then, conventional cytogenetic harvesting techniques have not changed significantly, however, the requirement for genetic testing has escalated and cytogenetics laboratories now play major role in providing genetic analysis of human chromosomes to diagnose abnormalities in prenatal/postnatal and cancer specimens. Such is the increase in the requirement for cytogenetic testing that robotic metaphase harvesting is a requirement in all but the smallest of cytogenetics laboratories.
MultiPrep Genie and CellSprint play a major role in allowing true walk way robotic metaphase harvesting, not only improving productivity and permitting faster turn around times, but freeing time for the technicians to perform skilled tasks such as chromosome analysis. In addition, studies have shown that slides prepared using the robotic metaphase harvesting method show an improved consistency and indeed an overall improvement in quality over manual methods.
The reasons behind improved results from robotic metaphase harvesting are clear. Cytogeneticists have constantly struggled with over the years to achieve consistent banding. Using the robotic metaphase harvesting technique, the MultiPrep CellSprint and Genie ensure that harvests are performed consistently without the inevitable small but significant changes introduced by different technicians, providing consistent preparations for the banding process.
Further challenges to consistent results are due to the requirement to harvest different specimens such as blood, bone marrow, tissue, amniotic fluid and chorionic villi samples. This requires different protocols to which generic robots cannot be easily adapted. The MultiPrep CellSprint for robotic metaphase harvesting of suspension cultures and the MultiPrep Genie for robotic harvesting of in-situ cultures, including amniotic fluids, chorionic villi and fibroblasts, have been specifically designed with the help of Cytogeneticists, specifically for cytogenetic harvesting. The systems can be easily programmed to run the appropriate protocol for all different sample types.
The CellSprint and MultiPrep Genie bring robotic metaphase harvesting to a new level, allowing laboratories to increase productivity and to improve quality.