The work is reported in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Using the approach they call "Direct Molecular Recognition," the UCLA and NYU researchers used nanoparticles to turn the DNA molecules into a form of molecular braille that can be read in the scale of nanometers, or one billionth of a meter, using high-speed Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).
The leaders of the study are: Jason Reed, a research professor, and Professor Jim Gimzewski, nanotechnology pioneer, both at UCLA's California Nanosystems Institute, and Professor Bud Mishra, genomics expert, at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. This group believes the method will have many practical uses, such as super-sensitive detection of DNA molecules in genomic research and medical diagnostics as well as in identifying pathogens.
While there are a variety of techniques currently used for this purpose, they are time consuming, technically difficult, and expensive. They also require a significant amount of genetic material in order to make accurate readings and often require prior knowledge of the sample composition.
According to Mishra, to overcome these shortcomings, the team devised a "single-cell, single-molecule" method that would dispense with the complex chemical manipulations on which existing methods are based, and, instead, utilize the unique shapes of the molecules themselves as the method of identification. This approach has the benefits of being rapid and sensitive to the level of a single molecule.
Reed says that "the long term goal of our team's research is to dissect, understand, and control the biology of single cells in complex tissues, such as brain, or in malignant tumors. Furthering this body of work requires that we address an unsolved problem in single-cell molecular analysis: the lack of a method to routinely, reliably, and inexpensively determine global gene transcriptional activity."
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
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