Fluorescent nanocrystals - also known as quantum dots - come in handy as DNA sensors, as reported in the November issue of Nature Materials.
Sensing DNA directly in a solution and without having to go through tedious separation and amplification procedures is a great challenge in molecular biology. The results of these analyses are critical for diagnosing genetic diseases.
Tza-Huei Wang and colleagues present a straightforward and sensitive method that, being based on the fluorescence emission from quantum dots rather than from molecular probes, circumvents the infamous problem of background fluorescence which makes it difficult to detect the real signal.
As a practical demonstration of its utility, this sensor system could successfully spot the genetic signature of an ovarian tumour in clinical samples.
Tza-Huei Wang (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Additional contact for comment on paper:
Benoit Dubertret (Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, Paris, France)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Materials press release.
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