A new fingernail sized sensor chip was recently developed by researchers from Sensors and Biosensors Group at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) that significantly reduces the time to analyze DNA.
By using the new sensors the time taken to identify the source of infection for Legionella would decrease from two days, as is currently the case using organic production techniques, to just thirty minutes. In trials, the new sensors enabled Salmonella to be identified in four and a half hours, compared to three to five days using the traditional microbiological methods.
The operational difference between these chips and traditional DNA chips is that the interaction between the DNA and the sensor is convereted to electrical currents that can be measured. Another breakthrough regarding the chips is that the results can be analyzed at a low cost, without the need for a trained scientist.
The applications of the new chips are broad:
The sensors have the same size and thickness as a fingernail and will have uses in testing genetic toxicity in new drugs and identifying bacterial strains in foodborne illnesses. In addition, the sensor can be applied to such applications such as performing paternity tests, identifying bacterial infections and detecting genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
and the sensor could easily be adapted for use in medicine, environmental monitoring and the industrial sector.
Chips like these could help physicians move into the era of being able to test for life-threatening side effects before medications are administered. But I’m not sure if an over-the-counter Whose your daddy? paternity test would be a good idea. Besides, what would Maury Pauvich do?
More at in-Pharma Technologist.com…
The original press release…