Scientists develop faster, cheaper DNA test for crimes

July 9th, 2009 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 9 (IANS) Scientists in Japan have developed a faster, cheaper and better DNA test for criminal investigations, diagnostics and other applications, according to the latest research.
They reported a superior version of the fabled polymerase chain reaction (PCR) a DNA test, that works by amplifying “previously undetectable traces of DNA almost like photo-copiers produce copies of documents,” noted Naohiro Noda and colleagues.

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 described development and testing of a new PCR method, called the universal QProbe system, that overcomes these problems, said a release of Analytical Chemistry.

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 is also more specific, accurately detecting DNA even in the presence of unfavourable PCR products in the samples that may interfere with quantification results.

Their study is scheduled to be published in the July 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry.

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