Up to now, the major roadblock has been the cost and speed of obtaining highly accurate DNA sequences. While numerous advances have been made in the last 10 years, most current high-throughput sequencing instruments depend on optical techniques for the detection of the four building blocks of DNA: A, C, G and T.
To further advance the measurement capability, electronic DNA sequencing of an ensemble of DNA templates has also been developed. Recently, it has been shown that DNA can be threaded through protein nanoscale pores under an applied electric current to produce electronic signals at single molecule level.
However, because the four nucleotides are very similar in their chemical structures, they cannot easily be distinguished using this technique. Thus, the research and development of a single-molecule electronic DNA sequencing platform is the most active area of investigation and has the potential to produce a hand-held DNA sequencer capable of deciphering the genome for personalized medicine and basic biomedical research.
Beth Kwon | EurekAlert!
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