I have tried quite a number of electrophorectic transfer units over the past 15 years, including tank and semi-dry styles. Although all work to one degree or another, my hands-down favorite unit is the Genie Blotter from Idea Scientific Company. I was first introduced to the company at a cancer conference a few years ago and was struck by the fact that the ‘sales rep’ at their booth was actually a scientist. After spending a few minutes with him, I realized that he was extremely well-versed in the equipment his companied carried. Each piece of equipment was designed to perform a specific task simply and effectively. The design was based solely on functionality rather than appearance.
The Genie Blotter employs plate electrodes that are approximately 3 cm apart during the electrophorectic transfer. This arrangement of plate electrodes in close proximity results in a high electric field strength that is also very uniform. The unit is assembled in a rectangular plexiglass tray in the standard order: cathode plate-Scotch Brite pad-filter paper-gel-blotting membrane (PVDF or nitrocellulose)-filter paper-Scotch Brite pad-anode plate. The assembly is carried out in just enough transfer buffer to cover the gel. Removal of bubbles between the gel and transfer membrane is easily accomplished by rolling a pipette back and forth over the membrane. Once the assembly is complete, the plexiglass tray is slid into the blotting unit and the whole thing turned vertically. More buffer is added to ensure that the gel is covered, the electrodes are attached and the transfer is initiated.
The Genie blotter comes in 4 sizes to accommodate gels from 10 x 12 cm to 30 x 37 cm. The units require from 0.35 to 3.5 L of buffer to operate. The standard Towbin buffer (Tris-glycine-methanol) is used for Western transfer. The blotter will also accommodate agarose gels for Northern or Southern transfers. Western transfers can be completed in 30 min (Biotechniques 12: 651-654, 1992), Southerns in 1 h, and Northerns in 1.5 h. The recommended power supply is an inexpensive battery charger, also sold by Idea Scientific, that delivers low voltage at relatively high amperage. The blotter is sold with alloy plate electrodes but a platinized titanium plate anode can also be purchased. The titanium electrode is reported to be more effective for large molecular weight proteins or nucleic acids. It is also more durable and comes with a 5-year guarantee.
I have used the Genie Blotter model that is designed for 15 x 17 cm gels. It is equipped with the platinized titanium anode. After over 3 years of use, the plates show essentially no fouling or wear. I really cannot think of any negatives for this piece of equipment. It is very reasonably priced, easy to set-up and use, generates excellent blots of outstanding uniformity, and Idea Scientific offers great technical support. All-in-all, a very useful, solid laboratory tool
Michael Campa, Ph.D.
Asst. Research Professor of Radiology
Duke University Medical Center
Idea Scientific's Genie Blotter
It’s a well-designed, reasonably priced piece of equipment
Have not had any bad experiences with this device
The Bottom Line
Solidly built and generates excellent blots – what more could you want?