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Sparse-matrix sampling using commercially available crystallization screen kits has become the most popular way of determining the preliminary crystallization conditions for macromolecules. In this study, the efficiency of three commercial screening kits, Crystal Screen and Crystal Screen 2 (Hampton Research), Wizard Screens I and II (Emerald BioStructures) and Personal Structure Screens 1 and 2 (Molecular Dimensions), has been compared using a set of 19 diverse proteins. 18 proteins yielded crystals using at least one crystallization screen. Surprisingly, Crystal Screens and Personal Structure Screens showed dramatically different results, although most of the crystallization formulations are identical as listed by the manufacturers. Higher molecular weight polyethylene glycols and mixed precipitants were found to be the most effective precipitants in this study.

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