DNA synthesiser, c 1980.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Detail of DNA synthesiser designed and built by Celltech Ltd in Slough, Berkshire. DNA synthesisers were esential devices in biotechnology laboratories in the 1980s. They were used as components in work ranging from the genetic modification of foods, to animal cloning and genetic fingerprinting. These procedures often entailed the building of short stretches of synthetic DNA. This machine was an early automated DNA synthesiser that greatly speeded up this immensely complex task.