Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Incredible International Kits

All this talk of kits, and outsourcing science ... then my boss (Tom) comes back from Japan where at a conference he met a guy who operates a biomedical company that sells purified components for in vitro translation (remember from the Central Dogma, translation = "mRNA => protein"). Anyway using this company's reagents, one can reconstitute translation with purified components, and the company will sell you each purified component separately!

Want to have ribosomes bound to mRNA and stalled after encountering a valine codon? Reconstitute the whole reaction without the valine tRNA! (Actually such experiments have been done.) Want to stall the ribosome at the stop codon, omit release factors. It's all yours if you have the $.

One catch - these reagents are not for sale overseas ... so here is another wrinkle in the whole science outsourcing issue, the transport of biological reagents over borders. Currently there are many restrictions (just ask anyone who sent/received antibodies from labs overseas) and it is not clear how these restrictions will change over time. With terrorism and the promotion of globalization, it's hard to predict the future of international biomedical business.