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As a molecular biologist, I mostly miss the benefits of using 32P-end-labeling for detecting trace amounts of DNA in gels. Especially for things like gel shifts, there's nothing easier than 32P.

Well, nothing easier if you only consider the experiment itself. Once you factor in the regulatory, handling, & disposal requirements, things change.

In my limited experience, quantum dots are cool, but there are things you can do with 32P or other radionuclides that you can't possibly do with quantum dots.

As for lab safety, I think most molecular labs used small enough amounts that safety was not such a huge issue. Obviously, proper procedures are needed, but they're not really THAT hard to maintain. Safety for the folks who have to dispose of aggregated wastes from multiple labs may well be a bigger issue, though.

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