Lab-on-chip analyses single molecules of DNA
12 April 2011
The Micro- and Nano- engineering Unit at CIC microGUNE in
Spain has developed a lab-on-chip device that can analyse the sequence
of single strands of DNA. It could greatly simplify gene sequencing
This technique, known as DNA stretching, consists of passing single
molecules of DNA through a 50 nanometre sealed channel. These are
manufactured using nanoprinting lithography.
Lab-on-chip construction technique
|DNA stretching in channels
|| DNA chip
This novel technology could become a simpler and more effective
alternative to current methods of analysing DNA. Applications range
from determining the predisposition for suffering certain illnesses,
diagnosing them or establishing the best therapy once its
development is known. The method will also enable other
applications, such as the identification of bacteria and viruses,
carrying out forensic diagnoses or providing systems for the
advancement of therapies for chronic diseases.
“This technology enables determining DNA sequences, detecting
genetic alterations that determine specific genes associated with
the early detection of illnesses”, explained Mr Santos Merino,
researcher at CIC microGUNE.
This same detection can predict the
susceptibility of certain populations of individuals to certain
medication (what is known as pharmacogenetics). The design of these
kinds of chips will provide fast, cheap and in-situ (health centre
walk-in or out-patient) detection.