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Keywords:

  • protein crystallization;
  • seeding;
  • robotics;
  • microseeding;
  • microbatch

With the advent of structural genomics a variety of crystallization techniques have been automated and applied to high-throughput pipelines, yet seeding, which is the most common and successful optimization method, is still being performed predominantly manually. The aim of this study was to devise simple automated seeding techniques that can be applied in a routine manner using existing robots and not requiring special tools. Two alternative protocols for automated seeding experiments are described. One involves the delivery of microcrystals from stock to target wells using the robot dispensing tip as a seeding tool. The second harnesses an animal whisker as the seeding tool. Larger and better ordered crystals were obtained using both techniques.