Happy 47th Birthday to Western Blotting!

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western blot birthday

Toasting to a Tried-and-True Technique

As we enter a new year for science and continue making new discoveries that change the way we think and understand science, some aspects are thankfully staying just the same. In fact, 2022 marks the 47th birthday of the Western blotting technique! Azure Biosystems we’re excited to celebrate this tried-and-true method and all the scientific insights it has helped uncover over the years.

What is Western Blotting?

For those who aren’t familiar with the Western blot, it’s an analytical technique used to identify one or more specific proteins in a complex protein mixture. Scientists use it all the time to understand the presence, size, and even the amount of protein in their sample.

>> Interested in this technique for your own research? Learn about the step-by-step process in more detail with our Western Blotting Guidebook.

History of the Western Blot

The Western blot was first mentioned by George Stark’s team in their July 1979 publication—just two years after they invented the Northern blot. In September of the same year, Harry Towbin also published a paper that used a similar technique. This was later followed in 1981 by W. Neal Burnette’s publication, which included the very first mention of the name “Western blotting.” Interestingly, Towbin’s work has been cited more times than the other two publications combined.1

In either case, Azure Biosystems is thankful to all the brain power that went into creating the Western blot technique and the developments that the scientific community has made along the way.

How to Image Western Blots

Western blot imaging is usually done in one of two ways: film and digital. Film-based imaging was once the gold standard for imaging but has since been surpassed by digital imaging—thanks to the wider dynamic range, comparably lower costs, and ease of use. Digital imagers and analysis programs two great tools that can help you image Western blots carefully and accurately.

>> Discover the right Western blotting imaging system for you and your research needs.

Cheers from Azure Biosystems

Whether you’re trying out the Western blotting technique for the first time or it’s been a longstanding part of your research throughout your career, we’ve all got something to cheers for this new year. Azure Biosystems thanks all the scientists who created, developed, and continue to use the Western blot, and we’re excited to celebrate its birthday for many years to come.

  1. Moritz, CP. 40 years Western blotting: A scientific birthday toast. Journal of Proteomics. Vol 212. 2020.

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