Since the advent of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nearly 20 years ago, scientists have been trying to overturn this method for analyzing DNA with something better. The "holy grail" in this quest is a simple method that could be used for point-of-care medical diagnostics, such as in the doctor’s office or on the battlefield.
Now chemists at Northwestern University have set a DNA detection sensitivity record for a diagnostic method that is not based on PCR -- giving PCR a legitimate rival for the first time. Their results were published online today (April 27) by the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).
"We are the first to demonstrate technology that can compete with -- and beat -- PCR in many of the relevant categories," said Chad A. Mirkin, director of Northwestern’s Institute for Nanotechnology, who led the research team. "Nanoscience has made this possible. Our alternative method promises to bring diagnostics to places PCR is unlikely to go -- the battlefield, the post office, a Third World village, the hospital and, perhaps ultimately, the home."
Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
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