The Modern Era (1946-present) has included some of the greatest technological breakthroughs in human existence. Though countless advances were made and are continuing to be made in the Modern Era, here are four advances in lab technology that completely changed how labs approach their research.
Lab work creates piles of data, which led to piles of paper until the development of computers. The first computers were bulky, clunky, and for a specific set of processes but offered greatly improved efficiency. Computer technology progressed to allow them to perform more advanced equations through their software, store more data while taking up less space and increase the efficiency of the lab staff. Without the advent of computers, labs would be more inefficient and lack productivity.
DBS, or Dried Blood Spot Testing, is a form of bio sampling to determine metabolic diseases. The procedure revolves around collecting a few droplets of blood from capillaries, typically in the heel, finger, or toe and putting them on an absorbent paper. Dried blood spot testing in laboratories is a pretty common way to test blood. After being air-dried in a climate controlled environment, a small disc of the blood-saturated paper is separated and placed in a microtiter plate. Once another overnight process is completed, the plate can be tested for the many metabolic diseases. DBS Testing also has potential to test for HIV infection.
Genetic Engineering and its related lab technologies have created a wealth of opportunities in fields such as medicine, industry and agriculture. Lab research can be conducted with the use of genetically modified bacteria in order to produce results that would otherwise be difficult, or impossible to achieve. The mass production of drugs and vaccines became more efficient. Disease research could be safely conducted in the lab in order to model conditions on cells such as cancer, substance abuse, and aging. The lab applications have been nearly limitless for genetic engineering.
The innovation of Genetic testing allowed labs to conduct research on humans and animals regarding genetic defects, inherited diseases, and determining bloodlines. For agriculture, it can be used to determine breeding stock. Another application is in determining the relationships between chromosomes, and the inherit strengths and weaknesses of animal populations.
Though many advances have been made in lab technology, these have been some of the most far reaching developments. The effect of the computer, DBS testing, and genetics cannot be overstated.