Scientists have developed a new method for DNA amplification that could replace the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that is invaluable for both medical diagnostics and basic research but which is confined to the laboratory. In the August issue of EMBO reports, Huimin Kong and colleagues at New England Biolabs (Beverly, MA, USA) describe a way to copy mass amounts of DNA that overcomes some of the limitations of this earlier technique.
The new technique is called HDA (helicase-dependent amplification). HDA is as simple as PCR, but has significant advantages. PCR requires thermocycling to heat and cool a sample of DNA, to allow denaturation (separating DNA into single strands) and synthesis (copying single strands to create new double-stranded DNA). HDA instead mimics nature’s method of replicating DNA by using a helicase enzyme to denature the DNA. As a result, the entire HDA reaction can be performed at one temperature that is optimized for synthesis, eliminating the need for an expensive and power-hungry thermocycler.
HDA could expand the application of DNA amplification to situations in which the requirements for PCR have made it prohibitive. The costs are likely to be more modest and, most importantly, the simplicity of HDA makes it suitable for the development of hand-held DNA diagnostic devices that could be used to detect pathogens at the point-of-care or in the field.
Huimin Kong | alfa
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21.11.2017 | Allen Institute
Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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