The personal genome machine

One cool way to sequence DNA is to pull it through a nanopore in some kinda membrane in which electrodes are embedded. As each nucleotide passes , it gets zapped by the electrodes to see what it is. (That’s the thinkin, anyway. Ain’t nobody built one a these yet.)

Trouble is that it’s hard tell the nucleotides apart–in fact the signals they generate are identical to within statistical error.

So Shashi “Chilli con” Karna at the US Army Research Laboratory in Maryland and a few buddies has an improved design in which a pyrimidine molecule is chemically bonded to one electrode in the nanopore. When the strand of DNA is dragged through the nanopore, the nucleotides bond with the pyrimidine molecule in different ways, allowing them to be uniquely determined.

Ain’t gonna be long before one a these things (or something like it)  is sequencing your DNA. Betcha!

Ref: Functionalized Nanopore-embedded Electrodes for Rapid DNA Sequencing

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