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Biochip lights up DNA

  February 2/9, 2009
Add a photodetector to a biochip and you have an inexpensive medical test that spots subtle differences in DNA.

The biochip contains tethered DNA strands, a thin film transistor that detects light, and tiny channels that direct the flow of liquid samples like blood. When a target strand of DNA in the sample matches a tethered strand the strands bind together. This triggers a chemical reaction that produces light.

The chip detects single nucleotide polymorphisms, or differences of a single nucleotide or "letter". Such differences can indicate susceptibility to diseases and other characteristics of an individual's genetic makeup.

The biochip could lead to disposable DNA tests for diagnosing illnesses and studying the genetic factors of diseases.

Research paper:
Microfluidic Device Using Chemiluminescence and a DNA Arrayed Thin Film Transistor Photosensor for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Genotyping of PCR Amplicons from Whole Blood
Lab on a Chip, published online January 21, 2009

Researchers' homepage:
Matsunaga, Takeyama and Tanaka Laboratory, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Related stories and briefs:
Chip spots DNA electrochemically -- related research

Back to TRN February 2/9, 2009

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