Researchers have reduced all the components of a molecular biology laboratory needed to isolate genetic material to a chip the size of a dime. Their 'lab on a chip' allows automatic isolation and processing of genetic material from a single cell. In a collaborative effort, scientists have designed a tiny device containing a series of microchambers and interconnecting plumbing that fully automates the process of isolating genetic material. Stephen Quake and his colleagues describe their nanoliter-scale nucleic acid processor in the April issue of Nature Biotechnology and show how it can be applied to analyze DNA as well as mRNA. Although isolated stages of molecular biology protocols have been miniaturized before, this is the first time an entire procedure has been completely 'shrunk' from start to finish.
Stephen R. Quake
California Institute of Technology
Tel: +1 626 395 3362
Also available online.
(C) Nature Biotechnology press release.
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