Plasmid preps are to science what salt is to cooking. It’s so common that nobody notices, but nothing can be done without. There is no mention of this step in any published paper, nobody mentions them in any activity report, no comments are made on time spent on it.
But let’s face it: it takes time, as simple and as usual that it is. Some days spent, here and there. It’s so well planned in your weekly agenda, it’s such a habit, that you don’t even think about it. It’s just routine. When you’ve done a plasmid prep a couple of times, there’s nothing new to learn about it. It’s like riding a bike, once you know you don’t even notice any more.
But it takes time.
As simple and routine as it may be, there is always a choice to be made. What ‘flavour’ is needed? Mini or Giga or any other? Will it be an endo free or not? What quality control (QC) is preferred?
And it takes even more time.
Finally, once you’ve decided, is there stock available in the lab? Do I have to buy so much when only a little is needed? And am I sure that at the end, stock won’t get thrown away due to shelf life? And by the way, I should think about ordering more, we are getting low on stock.
And it starts to cost…
In any case, if one needs to do a lot of preps or only rarely, you’ll get, at one stage, this feeling that time isn’t being optimized. It’s mandatory in the project of course, but your skills are probably far better allocated to focusing on more strategical issues rather than on performing plasmid preps, right?
But… you need them.
Time management in labs is a crucial factor to keep ahead in a competitive world. Lab research does not make any exception to this. Results are needed rapidly to publish, submit to congresses, request for grants. People in the lab are skilled and their time is extremely valuable. So who, now, can openly say that plasmid preps are not a waste of time? It all becomes a matter of optimization.
Why not outsource?
Of course, I can hear you say it’s more expensive and probably longer than performed in-house. That’s not even sure. Why not calculate the time you spend on performing plasmid preps, on ordering, on QCs, and in addition the time that cannot be spent on more valuable experiments? And compare that to outsourcing.
Then, like many others, you might consider getting in touch with us.