10-Jul-2009 - American Chemical Society Publications

Faster, more cost-effective DNA test for crime scenes, disease diagnosis

Scientists in Japan are reporting development of a faster, less expensive version of the fabled polymerase chain reaction (PCR) a DNA test widely used in criminal investigations, disease diagnosis, biological research and other applications. The new method could lead to expanded use of PCR in medicine, the criminal justice system and elsewhere, the researchers say. Their study is scheduled for the July 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Naohiro Noda and colleagues note that PCR works by "amplifying" previously undetectable traces of DNA almost like photocopiers produce multiple copies of documents. With PCR, crime scene investigators can change traces of DNA into amounts that can be identified and linked to a suspect. Biologists can produce multiple copies of individual genes to study gene function, evolution, and other topics. Doctors can amplify the DNA from microbes in a patient's blood to diagnose an infection. Current PCR methods, however, are too expensive and cumbersome for wide use.

The scientists describe development and testing of a new PCR method, called the universal QProbe system, that overcomes these problems. Existing PCR processes require several "fluorescent probes" to seek out DNA. QProbe substitutes a single "fluorescent probe" that can detect virtually any target, saving time and cutting costs. The new method also is more specific, accurately detecting DNA even in the presence of unfavorable PCR products in the samples that may interfere with quantification results.

Original publication: Hidenori Tani et al.; "Universal Quenching Probe System: Flexible, Specific, and Cost-Effective Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Method"; Anal. Chem. 2009

More about American Chemical Society Publications
More about American Chemical Society
  • News

    Glycans in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein play active role in infection

    As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, researchers are working overtime to develop vaccines and therapies to thwart SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease Many efforts focus on the coronavirus spike protein, which binds the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on human cells to all ... more

    Cellular nanosponges could soak up SARS-CoV-2

    Scientists are working overtime to find an effective treatment for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Many of these efforts target a specific part of the virus, such as the spike protein. Now, researchers reporting in Nano Letters have taken a different approac ... more

    Detecting antibodies with glowing proteins, thread and a smartphone

    To defend the body, the immune system makes proteins known as antibodies that latch onto the perceived threat, be it HIV, the new coronavirus or, as is the case in autoimmune disease, part of the body itself. In a new proof-of-concept study in ACS Sensors, researchers describe a new system ... more

  • Videos

    What Makes Rubber Rubbery?

    Reactions is looking at sports science today. Sports balls owe their reliability to an unusual polymer. Learn about the chemistry of rubber the all-star’s best friend! more

    Dragon's Blood Could Save Your Life

    This week Reactions is looking at chemistry in bizarre places that could save your life. The science within the blood of the Komodo dragon or in a horseshoe crab can help with antibiotic resistance. But it doesn't end there, so we're taking a closer look at other wild places in nature that ... more

    Why is Olive Oil Awesome?

    Whether you sop it up with bread or use it to boost your cooking, olive oil is awesome. But a lot of chemistry goes on in that bottle that can make or break a product. Take the “extra virgin” standard: Chemistry tells us that a higher free-fatty-acid content leads to a lower grade, less tas ... more

More about National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology