Don’t give your secondary antibodies second rate citations!

Here at CiteAb we are very keen to help improve reproducibility in science through giving researchers access to accurate citation information for antibodies and biochemicals. We have spoken a lot on our blog about the importance of correctly citing your antibodies to enhance the reproducibility of your research.

Alicia reminds researchers not to give their secondary antibodies second rate citations!

Today we’re catching up with CiteAb product manager Alicia Cooper to get the low-down on citing secondary antibodies specifically, and to find out what the pitfalls are that many researchers come across.

Alicia explains why citing your secondary antibodies is especially important: “With a primary antibody, if the catalogue code isn’t mentioned we can often still pick out citations using information such as the clone and conjugate – however this isn’t as easy for secondary antibodies.

“We’ve noticed that in many publications, even where catalogue codes for primary antibodies are available, they’re missing for secondary antibodies. With many suppliers stocking multiple products to the same immunoglobulins, not having a code makes it extremely difficult to figure out the exact secondary antibody that was used.”

We caught up with Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund, technical support manager at Agrisera. She said: “Citing exact product numbers of not only primary, but also secondary antibodies is of crucial importance, to identify antibodies used in research and to allow to reproduce an experiment.

“There are thousands of secondary antibodies available on the market, from hundreds of companies, and alike primary antibodies not each secondary antibody will perform optimally on a given tissue extract, section or cell type. Without an exact number, identification is impossible. As a consequence, resources and time are wasted.”

Alongside performing optimally on the right cell type, the right conjugate for the application will be crucial. CiteAb founder Dr Andrew Chalmers adds: “Different secondaries to the same host can also have very different specificity. For example some secondaries have minimal cross reactivity with antibodies from other host species or are targeted against specific isotypes or fragments of the antibody. These differences may be crucial to allow the experiment to be repeated.”

Don’t forget, you can always refer to our top tips for antibody citations if you’re at all unsure whether you’re getting your citations right, and [our team] are also always on hand to help.

– Rebecca and the CiteAb team