Fluid Metering Inc. Blog

Selecting a Pump for DNA Application

Mar 14, 2023 12:17:33 PM / by Colin Rademacher

Synthetic DNA, also known as gene synthesis, is an artificial process that involves the creation of DNA sequences through chemical synthesis. This technology has many potential applications in fields such as medicine, biotechnology, and genetic engineering. To create synthetic DNA, specialized instruments are required that use several types of fluids to create the desired sequences. One crucial component responsible for transporting fluids throughout the instrument is the pump. In this white paper, we will discuss the process of selecting a pump for an instrument used in the creation of synthetic DNA.


Selecting a Pump for DNA Application

  (Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.com)

What is Synthetic DNA?

Synthetic DNA, also known as gene synthesis, is the artificial creation of DNA sequences through chemical synthesis. This technology has many potential applications, including the creation of new genes, genetic circuits, and proteins. Synthetic DNA has the potential to transform many fields, such as medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and synthetic biology.


Types of Fluids Used to Create Synthetic DNA

The process of creating synthetic DNA involves using a variety of fluids, including reagents, solvents, and chemicals. These fluids can range from small molecular building blocks, such as nucleotides and phosphoramidites, to larger molecules such as enzymes and proteins. The choice of fluid used depends on the specific needs of the DNA synthesis process.


Enzymatic vs. Phosphoramidite DNA Synthesis

There are two primary methods for creating synthetic DNA: enzymatic and phosphoramidite synthesis.

Enzymatic synthesis is the process of using enzymes, such as DNA polymerase, to synthesize DNA. This method is used for the creation of small-scale oligonucleotides. Enzymatic synthesis uses a variety of fluids, including buffer solutions, nucleotides, and enzymes. Phosphoramidite synthesis, also known as solid-phase synthesis, is the process of creating DNA sequences by assembling nucleotides onto a solid support. This process involves using phosphoramidites as the building blocks for DNA synthesis. The fluids used in phosphoramidite synthesis include solvents such as acetonitrile, dichloromethane, and tetrahydrofuran, and reagents such as capping and oxidation agents.


Selecting a Pump for Synthetic DNA Synthesis

When selecting a pump for an instrument used in the creation of synthetic DNA, several factors should be considered: 

  1. What are the specific requirements for the flow rate and pressure in the enzymatic synthesis process?
  2. What are the viscosity and chemical compatibility of the fluids being used in the process?
  3. What is the required accuracy of the dosing and mixing of fluids?
  4. What are the expected lifetime and maintenance requirements of the pump?
  5. What are the space constraints and available power sources for the instrument?
  6. Are there any specific industry or regulatory standards that the pump must meet?
  7. What is the expected throughput of the instrument, and how does this impact the pump selection?
  8. Are there any cost constraints that need to be considered in the pump selection process?
  9. Are there any specific features or options that are required for the pump, such as programmability, data logging, or remote monitoring?

For enzymatic synthesis, a piston pump is generally used due to its ability to dispense and mix fluids precisely and accurately without the risk of cross-contamination. Piston pumps are compatible with a wide range of fluids, including buffer solutions and nucleotides. The required flow rates and pressures for enzymatic synthesis are generally lower than those for phosphoramidite synthesis.

For phosphoramidite synthesis, a high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) pump is typically used due to its high-pressure capability and compatibility with the organic solvents used in the process. HPLC pumps are generally more expensive than piston pumps but are required for the higher flow rates and pressures needed for phosphoramidite synthesis.



In conclusion, synthetic DNA synthesis is a rapidly growing field that has many potential applications. When selecting a pump for an instrument used in the creation of synthetic DNA, it is essential to consider the specific needs of the synthesis process.

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Tags: OEM Pumps

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Written by Colin Rademacher

Colin Rademacher - Author for Fluid Metering, Inc. Blog