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That last little job before running your qPCR - no, not trying to remember which random sample you loaded in the wells; rather, centrifuging down the reactions to the bottom of the wells. This removes air bubbles and ensures all reaction components are combined.
Welcome to 2013 - I hope it's a great year for you.
Toward the end of last year, we were pleased to sponsor the NZ Microbiology conference in Dunedin. We also added some personal sponsorship in the form of a tour to (and through) Emerson's brewery. After doing something similar many years ago (same conference, same brewery!), a number of the people had said they had enjoyed that particular part of the conference. It was interesting to note that some of those same people joined this tour as well.
Working with RNA viruses (and multiple isolate strains), sometimes it can be hard enough to get sufficiently conserved sequence for primers (and harder if designing a TaqMan or probe-based assay). However a recent example in our lab showed the benefit of designing multiple assays for the same target and comparing the performance across template dilutions.