What were the top 100 cited protein reagents of 2021?


Min Read

In this blog:

  • What were the best performing research protein reagents in 2021?
  • Which companies supplied these protein products?
  • Which research areas featured?

Welcome to the top 100 product series! 

Interested in finding out which protein products are popular amongst researchers and well cited in published work? Looking to see which suppliers are growing in the protein market and who supplies the best performing protein reagents?

To answer these questions, we are providing the top 100 cited protein research reagents of 2021 to download for free at the bottom of this blog.

Every year, we analyse the top 100 products in each reagent category we collect product citation data on (antibodies, biochemicals, cell lines and kits & assays to come) to uncover key trends in product use in the life sciences, with today’s focus being proteins!

How do we carry out our analysis?

The top 100 cited research protein reagents is taken from our complete protein dataset covering 206 suppliers, 600,000 products and 144,000 citations, as well as 20,000 preprint citations. We mine the scientific literature for citation data to give us insights into product use in research and then verify this data with human reviewing for maximum accuracy. 

The wide range of protein products in this analysis include: enzymes, growth factors, binding proteins (such as streptavidin) and protein mixtures (such as bovine serum). 

Here’s what we discovered…

Infographic summarising key findings on protein research reagent market top cited products
Infographic summarising key findings

What were the top cited protein products?

The most popular protein product by citation count in 2021 was T4 DNA ligase, supplied by New England Biolabs. In 2020 this did not feature in the top 10, instead fetal bovine serum from MilliporeSigma was the most highly cited protein. Fetal bovine serum has now slipped to position two.

T4 DNA ligase is an enzyme which joins together DNA or RNA double stranded blunt or cohesive ends, or nicks, creating phosphodiester bonds. It is a very important tool when cloning a fragment into a vector for protein expression or when ligating an adaptor to DNA, amongst other applications.

Other notable products in the top 10 included enzymes such as T4 polynucleotide kinase and Phusion ® High-Fidelity DNA polymerase. These enzymes were also supplied by New England Biolabs, showing their dominance in the enzyme market. It was interesting to note that many enzymes featuring in the top 10 are used as important tools in molecular biology, demonstrating the importance of this market segment. 

Besides enzymes, the growth factor Animal-free recombinant human EGF featured at number 10. We found this was the second most cited protein used in cancer research in a recent blog on leading proteins in cancer research.

Which protein suppliers had the highest cited protein products?

Overall, we noticed an increase in the number of companies featuring in this dataset. This suggests that more suppliers must be doing something right with their product portfolio development and marketing efforts in the protein market to be breaking into the top 100. 

In 2021, 10 suppliers feature compared to the seven included in our data from 2020

Abcam, Sino Biological and Thermo Scientific have entered the dataset with the respective products: normal goat serum at #55, SARS-CoV-2 spike agglutinin proteins at #51 and #63 and wheat germ agglutinin at #53.

Leading the pack in supplying the most well-used proteins are MilliporeSigma, with an impressive 44 of the top 100 protein products. Despite their dominance, this is a slight drop from last year.

Of the top ten most popular proteins, New England Biolabs have made significant gains to claim four of these positions (up from 0 in 2020!). Overall in the top 100 they have also increased the number of products they have from 7 in 2020 to 17 in 2021, showing general growth in the market. We have also noted growth from New England Biolabs in previous blogs with their products, specifically in cancer research.

For the remainder of the top 10 protein products, MilliporeSigma claims three spots, Peprotech two and Promega one. 

There is a more even distribution for the number of products each leading supplier has in the top 10 this year compared to in 2020. Could we be moving towards a market with a less dominant leader?

Pie chart showing the number of products each reagent supplier has in the top 100 protein list.
Pie chart showing the number of products each reagent supplier has in the top 100 protein list.

What research areas were proteins used in?

We noticed the entry of two SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins from Sino Biological into the dataset this year. A SARS-CoV-2 spike protein previously featured as the 127th most cited product in 2020. 

The rise this product has seen in citations correlates with more COVID-19 related work being published in the past year. It is interesting that this is the only SARS related product in the top 100 list, demonstrating a dominance in this research area by Sino Biological, which we’ve previously noted.

It will be interesting to see if SARS-CoV-2 proteins remain in the top 100 product list next year, or whether we will see a change in interest to another protein group. As a research area, SARS related products still has a long way to go to compete with proteins used in molecular biology research. 

We hope you have found this content useful. Download data on the top 100 protein research reagents by signing up using the form below, and do get in touch with any questions or to learn more about the full dataset! 

  • Rebecca and the CiteAb team

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