American Chemical Society
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PaR-PaR Laboratory Automation Platform

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posted on 2013-05-17, 00:00 authored by Gregory Linshiz, Nina Stawski, Sean Poust, Changhao Bi, Jay D. Keasling, Nathan J. Hillson
Labor-intensive multistep biological tasks, such as the construction and cloning of DNA molecules, are prime candidates for laboratory automation. Flexible and biology-friendly operation of robotic equipment is key to its successful integration in biological laboratories, and the efforts required to operate a robot must be much smaller than the alternative manual lab work. To achieve these goals, a simple high-level biology-friendly robot programming language is needed. We have developed and experimentally validated such a language: Programming a Robot (PaR-PaR). The syntax and compiler for the language are based on computer science principles and a deep understanding of biological workflows. PaR-PaR allows researchers to use liquid-handling robots effectively, enabling experiments that would not have been considered previously. After minimal training, a biologist can independently write complicated protocols for a robot within an hour. Adoption of PaR-PaR as a standard cross-platform language would enable hand-written or software-generated robotic protocols to be shared across laboratories.