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Flow cytometry is designed to measure physical and biochemical characteristics of cells and cell-like particles using fluorescence. Fundamentally, any single-particle suspension (within a defined size range) can pass through the flow cytometer. Beads, for better or worse, are a sine qua non for the flow cytometrist. From quality control,to standardization, to compensation, there is a bead for every job. They are important — critical, even — for flow cytometry.

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There is a lot of preparatory work that must be done before the first flow cytometry experiment can be attempted. Each step builds upon the previous one and extends where the assay is going. Be prepared for some trial and error in this process, and don’t expect perfect results the first time around. An educated user is a good user, and makes the SRL staff’s job that much easier. The partnership between investigator and SRL staff is a rewarding one, when both parties work together to achieve the ultimate goal of generating excellent data and sort results that help answer the biological question being tested.

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