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World's smallest DNA testing chip

Posted: 09 Apr 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip  DNA  SNP  PCR 

Panasonic and Imec have jointly created a tiny chip that tests DNA in an hour. The new chip quickly detects SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) in whole blood.

"This is the chip we've actually developed. As you can see, it's less than half the size of a business card. It contains everything needed for testing DNA. Once a drop of blood is inserted, the chip completes the entire process, up to SNP detection," quoted scientists at Panasonic and Imec saying.

Testing is done by injecting the blood and a chemical into the chip, and setting it in the testing system. Then, DNA is extracted from the mixed solution. "The regions containing SNPs are then cut out and amplified. DNA amplification uses technology called PCR, which cuts out the desired sections by varying the temperature. With the conventional method, this process took two hours."

However, the researchers have achieved high-speed PCR, where 30 temperature cycles are completed in nine minutes, reported.

Currently, the research team is working on making the chip battery powered.

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