The detection of single-celled DNA is a crucial aspect of the detection of diseases and genetic disorders. The measurement of DNA molecules has been made possible for years; however, direct detection of the sample at the point of extraction without additional steps was not.
Fortunately, researchers at SANKEN University in Osaka have demonstrated a new method of releasing DNA molecules at the point of measurement.
Why is DNA extraction important?
(Photo: Polina Tankilevich from Pexels)
In 1869 Friedrich Miescher, a Swiss physician, was the first to isolate DNA while working in a biochemistry lab to find the chemical makeup of cells. Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA can be found in all organisms and stores their genetic makeup.
The precise extraction of DNA has been a turning point for biotechnology. It has become the starting point for a wide range of applications and fundamental research in routine diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. The extraction and purification of DNA’s unique characteristics such as its size, function and shape have enabled vast developments in the field of biology and medicine, reports What is biotechnology.
DNA extraction is essential for the study of the genetic causes of disease and the development of treatments and diagnostic drugs. It is also an essential aspect of forensic science and genome sequencing to detect viruses and bacteria in the environment.
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DNA extraction in situ via Nanopore
Nanopores, a nanoscale hole or channel in self-supporting membranes, are found in biology and are designed for purpose. There have been many advances in the use of nanopores as gateways for close monitoring of molecules as they pass one by one in recent years. Previously, individual DNA bases crossing nanopores allowed the identification and sequencing of entire genomes.
On the other hand, despite these remarkable advances in the detection of single molecules, it has always been necessary to increase the concentration of DNA samples to ensure successful measurement, as there is no reliable way to bring the molecules of DNA in the measurement pore.
In a study published in the journal Small methods, titled “Detection of Single Molecule Deoxyribonucleic Acid in a Cell Using a Three-Dimensional Integrated Nanopore,” researchers at SANKEN University in Osaka were able to create 3D integrated nanopores that can immediately rupture cells before measurement. The released molecules are then efficiently delivered to the detection areas and accurately measured without further complex steps that could lead to errors.
Makusu Tsutsui, co-author of the study, explains that their sensor has 2 crucial parts. First, a layer containing many nanopores where electrostatic fields are used to rupture the cell and release substances through the pores provides essential filtration. Below, separated by a spacer, the measurements are taken in a single nanopore report PhysOrg.
When a current is applied, it passes through the pore due to the salt ions in its surrounding solution. This phenomenon is partially blocked when large DNA molecules pass through the nanopore. The changes thus provide vital information about large DNA molecules, such as whether the molecule is folded or not.
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