Collection Highlights

Bio Logicals Gene Synthesizer

CSTMC/SMSTC – 2013.0003 

Current location:

Collection Storage Facility


The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie donated this artifact to the Museum in 2013.

Technical history:

This is an early commercial version of the “gene machine” for the automated synthesis of gene fragments.


The Bio Logicals, DNA/RNA Synthesizer (Gene Machine) was used to synthesise sequences of DNA and RNA through an automated process. Kelvin Ogilvie and his McGill University colleagues demonstrated the foundation chemistry for carrying out the repetitive steps and the automation needed for assembling sequences of DNA. He and his collaborators at Bio Logicals Inc., among them, Robert Bender and Peter Duck, developed the “gene machine,” a device which automated the complex process of building DNA sequences. The research that went into the development of the gene machine was a significant contribution to the genomic revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, and an important part in bringing the "tech" into biotechnology.

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