Tag Archives: dna strands

UCLA engineers first to detect and measure individual DNA molecules using smartphone microscope

Lightweight, compact device converts an ordinary smartphone into an advanced fluorescence microscope

Fluorescence microscopes use technology that enables them to accomplish tasks not easy to achieve with normal light microscopes, including imaging DNA molecules to detect and diagnose cancer, nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and drug resistance in infectious diseases. (more…)

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A virus reveals the physics of nanopores

Nanopores could provide a new way to sequence DNA quickly, but the physics involved isn’t well understood. That’s partly because of the complexities involved in studying the random, squiggly form DNA takes in solution. Researchers from Brown have simplified matters by using a stiff, rod-like virus instead of DNA to experiment with nanopores. Their research has uncovered previously unknown dynamics in polymer-nanopore interactions.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Nanopores may one day lead a revolution in DNA sequencing. By sliding DNA molecules one at a time through tiny holes in a thin membrane, it may be possible to decode long stretches of DNA at lightning speeds. Scientists, however, haven’t quite figured out the physics of how polymer strands like DNA interact with nanopores. Now, with the help of a particular type of virus, researchers from Brown University have shed new light on this nanoscale physics. (more…)

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Better Way to Understand Plasmid Cloning from AddGene

Medical research has been studying molecular cloning for centuries. While many remember the Scottish lambs as the first successful cloning, there have been countless medical advances since then. Many of them are not as evident or dramatic as Molly the sheep, they have been blazing the trail for cloning vital organs, DNA strands and chromosomes in hopes of curtailing or even curing the maladies that plague the human race. Plasmids are at the forefront of this research in hopes they can learn how to insert DNA strands and restructure diseases or ailments on a molecular level.

It is difficult to describe what Plasmid is exactly. Plasmid is a biologically engineered DNA strands that are meant to be used in existing organisms as well as creating new ones. There are many aspects of it used in different ways from molecule cloning, manipulating genes or advancing medical research. Plasmids are circular fragments of double-stranded DNA. Plasmids are used in DNA strands and they can be replicated independently of original chromosomal DNA that created them. While they are mainly used for studying purposes at the moment in biological laboratories, they are meant to advance medical research and hopefully be used to prolong human life. (more…)

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Researchers Find ‘Goldilocks’ of DNA Self-Assembly

This image is a simulation snapshot of the molecular dynamics of DNA strands. Image credit: North Carolina State University

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a way to optimize the development of DNA self-assembling materials, which hold promise for technologies ranging from drug delivery to molecular sensors. The key to the advance is the discovery of the “Goldilocks” length for DNA strands used in self-assembly – not too long, not too short, but just right.

DNA strands contain genetic coding that will form bonds with another strand that contains a unique sequence of complementary genes. By coating a material with a specific DNA layer, that material will then seek out and bond with its complementary counterpart. This concept, known as DNA-assisted self-assembly, creates significant opportunities in the biomedical and materials science fields, because it may allow the creation of self-assembling materials with a variety of applications.

But, while DNA self-assembly technology is not a new concept, it has historically faced some significant stumbling blocks. One of these obstacles has been that DNA segments that are too short often failed to self-assemble, while segments that are too long often led to the creation of deformed materials. This hurdle can lead to basic manufacturing problems, as well as significant changes in the properties of the material itself. (more…)

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