Scientific collaborators from University of California, Los Angeles, Stockholm University, and Uppsala University in Sweden have created a multimodal microscope, that relies on a smartphone’s camera, capable of targeted DNA sequencing and mutation analysis of living tissues.
The microscope consists of a 3D printed component containing a cheap lens that snaps onto a Nokia Lumia 1020, a smartphone that sports a 38 megapixel sensor. Inside the device are two laser diodes that provide multicolor fluorescence imaging and a white LED for bright-field transmission imaging. A sample holder in front of the camera can be moved in three dimensions to place the target spot accurately for optimal imaging.
To actually see specific DNA sequences, the team created a fluorescence tagging technique that makes lights up molecular strings being searched for. From the study in Nature Communications:
For the molecular analysis, we developed targeted sequencing library preparation schemes based on selector probes and padlock probes in situ and RCA [Rolling Circle Amplification]to generate micron-sized DNA coils that consist of hundreds of concatemerized repeats of the circular template and that can each be brightly labelled with fluorescent hybridization probes or sequenced.
The technology is cheap, allowing the device to be manufactured for less than $500. Because of its portability and ease of use, it may play a large role in disease management in all kinds of environments and situations.
Study in Nature Communications: Targeted DNA sequencing and in situ mutation analysis using mobile phone microscopy…