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Agilent Technologies Introduces Small RNA Kit for Bioanalyzer, Allowing miRNA to be Routinely Quantified in Total RNA


Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced the Agilent Small RNA Kit for its highly successful 2100 Bioanalyzer microfluidics product line. The Small RNA Kit extends the assay portfolio to the separation and analysis of microRNA (miRNA) and other small nucleic acids. The new kit enables the routine quantification and characterization of miRNA down to the picogram/microliter level, in any workflow.

Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) is too complex and labor intensive for day-to-day use for miRNA quantification. The new assay removes all previous barriers to routine miRNA sample QC while delivering the speed and convenience of an automated system.

miRNAs are small (19 - 30 mer) non-coding RNAs, thought to regulate approximately one third of all human genes. There are now approximately 500 known human miRNAs with ongoing discovery directed toward an estimated 10,000. miRNA expression patterns are associated with a number of tumor types as well as regulating processes such as cellular development, metabolism and viral infections.

This announcement immediately follows Agilent’s introduction of the first comprehensive microarray system for expression profiling of human miRNAs, indicative of the company’s focus on emerging genomic applications. The new bioanalyzer kit applications include preparation of targets for microarrays or Northern blots, RT-PCR, and preparation of cDNA libraries.

“The enormous potential of this emerging field is driving a great deal of research, and highlights the importance of accurate detection of small quantities of miRNA,” said Marc Valer, Genomics Microfluidics program manager, Agilent Life Sciences Solutions Unit. “The lab-on-a-chip-based 2100 Bioanalyzer platform is ideal for this application, because it is far more sensitive than techniques such as slab gels, with better resolution and digital output. Like other bioanalyzer kits, automated miRNA analysis of up to 11 samples occurs in just 30 minutes with little human intervention.”

The new Agilent Small RNA Kit can detect as little as 100 pg of miRNA out of 5 to 20 ng of total RNA, compared to the typical agarose gel, which might require 20 to 100 times more sample to consistently detect the miRNA fraction. This means researchers can qualify small amounts of precious samples, from biopsies for example, and use only the good samples in more costly miRNA expression profiling assays.

The Agilent Small RNA Kit is available now.

The Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer is the world’s first and best selling commercial lab-on-a-chip platform. It’s the industry standard for RNA sample QC and has replaced gel electrophoresis in this application. It is rapidly replacing gel electrophoresis for DNA fragment analysis and SDS-PAGE analysis of protein samples. As a complete solution for the molecular biologist, the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer also performs flow cytometric analysis of cell fluorescence parameters.

For further details about Agilent’s microfluidic lab-on-a-chip solutions, visit


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