Friday, December 5, 2008

The day (my) world turned upsidedown

This post for bio-nerds only... not fit for general consumption

A go-to supplier of molecular biology reagents, especially restriction enzymes, is New England Biolabs (NEB amongst friends). Their website is user-friendly, their products are well-documented, and they are just a generally easy company to deal with (in contrast to, say, Invitrogen). Every biologist knows and uses NEB.

Today, I received an order with an insert noting that NEB is changing its buffer system, such that some enzymes that were previously recommended for use in buffers 1, 2, or 3 are now recommended for use in buffer 4. This is like baseball changing the formula for ERA or switching to a 10-month calendar based on the transit of Venus -- everything I thought I knew about how this little slice of the world works has now changed. For example, by memory, here are the previously-recommended NEB buffers for some favorite enzymes:

XbaI - 2
HindIII -2
SpeI - 2
NheI - 2
ApaI - 4
XhoI - 3
NcoI - 4
EcoRV - 3
BamHI - (special)
EcoRI - (special)
AgeI - 1
ClaI - 4

Lemme see how I did... huh, 11 out of 12, the only wrong one being XhoI, which is recommended in 2 but has 100% activity in 3. But now all this info is useless (did it have value before?) or, at least, not up-to-date. Crap.

Oh, as for their recogition sites, from memory:

Yeah, it's been a productive post-college career ;)