Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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Large particle flow cytometry

COPAS instruments automate the analysis, sorting, and dispensing of "large" objects such as viable small model organisms, seeds, beads, and particles, measuring the object size, optical density, and the intensity of fluorescent markers. Once analyzed, objects are sorted according to user selectable criteria, and then may be dispensed into stationary bulk receptacles or multi-well microtiter plates for high throughput screening. COPAS instruments have been proven to analyze and sort large objects with a higher speed and precision than present manual techniques. By automating the current, time consuming manual processes, the time required for experiments is dramatically reduced, human error is eliminated, and new experiments that previously could not be considered are now possible.

The COPAS platform was initially developed to replace manual sorting of the multicellular model organism, C. elegans (nematodes). As needs have been identified, Union Biometrica has expanded the COPAS instrument line to accommodate larger organisms including Drosophila (fruit fly), D. rerio (zebrafish) embryos and Arabidopsis seeds, as well as particles such as combinatorial chemistry beads used in compound libraries. The COPAS platform handles objects ranging from 20 - 1,500 microns with four (4) different models, each featuring a specially engineered fluidic path and flow cell optimized for a subset of the range.

Four parameters are recorded for each object of interest:

  • Optical density of the object (optical extinction)
  • Axial length (size) of the object
  • Simultaneous detection of any two of the available three colors of fluorescence

COPAS instruments allow for multiple fluorescence excitation and emission wavelengths. In the standard configuration, the instrument has fluorescence detectors for the green, yellow, and/or red regions of the spectrum to cover GFP, YFP, and DsRed® fluorescent proteins, as well as numerous other commercially available fluorophores. For combinatorial chemistry applications, the system can be customized with various lasers including UV to excite fluorescence tags more commonly used in that field.

Sorting rates vary with the concentration of the sample and percentage of the total sample that is being dispensed, but can range up to 100,000 events per hour.

COPAS instruments are recommended for use with small animal models, small plant models (seeds, pollen, etc.), and beads for a variety of experiment types including:

  • Object Collection (bulk or microtiter format) based on optical signatures
  • Genetic Screening
  • Isolation of Rare Events
  • Population Enrichment
  • Target/Lead Validation
  • Compound Screening
  • Ultra-HTS of bead-based combi-chem libraries

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