A supplement providing a snapshot of the latest developments in chemical biology
Simple stretch for biowarfare detector
04 August 2006
A device that stretches DNA is being used to develop a detector for biowarfare agents.
Jonathan Larson and a team at US Genomics, US, say that characterising DNA, or DNA mapping, could become faster and more cost-effective thanks to their invention.
The team stretch the DNA by forcing it to flow through a long microfluidic funnel. The extended DNA molecules are easier to analyse than the original DNA, which is coiled in its native state. Huge tracts of DNA can be examined rapidly using conventional detection methods, explained Larson. The approach 'is elegant in its simplicity,' he said. 'Nothing other than a microchip and DNA are required.'
Larson said the team have already developed their work by improving the stretching efficiency, increasing throughput and making changes to sample preparation. Collectively, these improvements are 'a big step forward' toward fielding robust, sensitive, and high throughput systems for DNA analysis, he said.
J W Larson, G R Yantz, Q Zhong, R Charnas, C M D'Antoni, M V Gallo, K A Gillis, L A Neely, K M Phillips, G G Wong, S R Gullans and R Gilmanshin, Lab Chip, 2006