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Techniques & Tools Genomics & DNA Analysis, Clinical, Spectroscopy

Image of the Month

DNA, Do You Copy?

Biomedical engineers at Vanderbilt University have designed a new handheld device that uses left-handed DNA (L-DNA) to monitor and control the molecular reactions that take place in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The spectrophotometer on the left detects varying levels of fluorescence in the sample (center), illuminated by ultraviolet light, and uses them to control DNA duplication. 

The “adaptive PCR” device has the potential to identify bacteria or viruses by DNA signatures before symptoms appear – and its handheld size means it can be transferred easily from the lab to the clinic.

Credit: Anne Rayner, Vanderbilt University  

Reference: NM Adams et al., “Adaptive PCR based in hybridization sensing of mirror-image l-DNA”, Anal Chem, 89, 728-735 (2017).

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About the Author
Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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