New nanotechnology able to examine single molecules, aiding in determining gene expression

January 24, 2007

A new nanotechnology that can examine single molecules in order to determine gene expression, paving the way for scientists to more accurately examine single cancer cells, has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at UCLA's California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and Veeco Instruments, a nanotechnology company.

Their work appears in the January issue of the journal Nanotechnology.

Previously, researchers have been able to determine gene expression using microarray technology or DNA sequencing. However, such processes could not effectively measure single gene transcripts—the building blocks of gene expression. With their new approach, the researchers of the work reported in Nanotechnology were able to isolate and identify individual transcript molecules—a sensitivity not achieved with earlier methods.

"Gene expression profiling is used widely in basic biological research and drug discovery," said Jason Reed of UCLA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the study's lead author. "Scientists have been hampered in their efforts to unlock the secrets of gene transcription in individual cells by the minute amount of material that must be analyzed. Nanotechnology allows us to push down to the level of individual transcript molecules."

"We are likely to see more of these kinds of highly multi-disciplinary research aimed at single molecule sequencing, genomics, epigenomic, and proteomic analysis in the future," added Bud Mishra, a professor of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Cell Biology from NYU's Courant Institute and School of Medicine. "The most exciting aspect of this approach is that as we understand how to intelligently combine various components of genomics, robotics, informatics, and nanotechnology—the so-called GRIN technology—the resulting systems will become simple, inexpensive, and commonplace."

Source: New York University

Explore further: DNA sequencing improved by slowing down

Related Stories

DNA sequencing improved by slowing down

September 21, 2015

EPFL scientists have developed a method that improves the accuracy of DNA sequencing up to a thousand times. The method, which uses nanopores to read individual nucleotides, paves the way for better - and cheaper - DNA sequencing.

Purdue scientists treat cancer with RNA nanotechnology

September 14, 2005

Using strands of genetic material, Purdue University scientists have constructed tiny delivery vehicles that can carry anticancer therapeutic agents directly to infected cells, offering a potential wealth of new treatments ...

Recommended for you

Physicists develop new technique to fathom 'smart' materials

November 26, 2015

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and Leiden University have found a way to better understand the properties of manmade 'smart' materials. Their method reveals how stacked layers in such a material work together to bring ...

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...

New sensor sends electronic signal when estrogen is detected

November 24, 2015

Estrogen is a tiny molecule, but it can have big effects on humans and other animals. Estrogen is one of the main hormones that regulates the female reproductive system - it can be monitored to track human fertility and is ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.