Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New System to Improve DNA Sequencing

Published: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A sensing system developed at Cambridge is being commercialised in the UK for use in rapid, low-cost DNA sequencing.

System would make the prediction and diagnosis of disease more efficient and individualised treatment more affordable.

Dr Ulrich Keyser of the University’s Cavendish Laboratory, along with PhD student Nick Bell and other colleagues, has developed a system which combines a solid-state nanopore with a technique known as DNA origami, for use in DNA sequencing, protein sensing and other applications. The technology has been licensed for development and commercialisation to UK-based company Oxford Nanopore, which is developing portable, low-cost DNA analysis sequencing devices.

Nanopore technology has the potential to revolutionise DNA sequencing and the analysis of a range of other biological molecules, providing dramatic improvements in power, cost and speed over current methods.

A nanopore is an extremely small hole - between one and 100 nanometres in diameter – typically contained in a membrane between two chambers containing a salt solution and the molecule of interest. When the molecules pass through the nanopores, they disrupt an ionic current through the nanopore and this difference in electrical signals allows researchers to determine certain properties of those molecules.

Over the past decade, researchers have been investigating various methods of constructing nanopores in order to improve accuracy and reliability. A key part of this is the ability to finely control the shape and surface chemistry of the nanopores, which would maximise sensitivity and facilitate the identification of a wider range of molecules.

Currently, there are two main types of nanopores in use: solid state nanopores constructed by fabricating tiny holes in silicon or graphene with electron beam equipment; and biological nanopores made by inserting pore-forming proteins into a biological membrane such as a lipid bilayer.

Biological nanopores are cheap and easy to manufacture in large quantities of identical pores.  It is possible through genetic engineering to define their structure at the atomic level, varying the pores for the analysis of different target molecules. However, they are only suitable for a limited range of applications, and may be replaced over time by solid-state nanopores. At present, solid-state nanopores are difficult to manufacture and are not as sensitive as biological nanopores, as it is difficult to position specific chemical groups on the surface.

In collaboration with researchers at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Dr Keyser and his team have developed a hybrid nanopore which combines a solid-state material, such as silicon or graphene, and DNA origami - small, well-controlled shapes made of DNA.

“The DNA origami structures can be formed into any shape, allowing highly accurate control of the size and shape of the pore, so that only molecules of a certain shape can pass through,” says Dr Keyser. “This level of control allows for far more detailed analysis of the molecule, which is particularly important for applications such as phenotyping or gene sequencing.”

Since complementary sequences of DNA can bind to one another, the origami structures can be customised so that functional groups, fluorescent compounds and other molecular adapters can be added to the DNA strands with sub-nanometre precision, improving sensitivity and reliability. Additionally, hundreds of billions of self-assembling origami structures can be produced at the same time, with yields of up to 90 per cent.

Recent research by the team, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, has shown that up to 16 measurements can be taken simultaneously, allowing for much higher data throughput and screening of different DNA origami structures.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Blood Markers Could Help Predict Outcome Of Infant Heart Surgery
New research suggests it may be possible to predict an infant’s progress following surgery for congenital heart disease by analysing a number of important small molecules in the blood.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Scientific News
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Chip-Based Technology Enables Reliable Direct Detection of Ebola Virus
Hybrid device integrates a microfluidic chip for sample preparation and an optofluidic chip for optical detection of individual molecules of viral RNA.
Diagnostics Breakthrough Brings Viral Sequencing to Doctors’ Toolkit
New screening tool produces up to 10,000-fold improvement in viral matches compared with traditional high-throughput methods.
New Cell Type May Help Explain Dangerous Food Allergies
Researchers have discovered a new cell type that appears to drive life-threatening food allergies and may help explain why some people get severe allergic reactions and others do not.
Molecular Diagnostics At Home
Electrochemical test's sensing principle may be generalized to many different targets, leading to inexpensive devices that could detect dozens of disease markers in less than 5 minutes.
DNA Alterations as Among Earliest to Occur in Lung Cancer Development
Genetic footprints of precancer detectable in some blood samples.
New, Improved Approach To Mammograms
Detecting breast cancer in women with dense mammary tissues could become more reliable with a new mammogram procedure that researchers have now tested in pre-clinical studies of mice.
Undiagnosed Diseases Network Launches Online Application Portal
UDN Gateway enables patients to apply to national network of clinical sites.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos