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Gene Therapy Genetics

Minute Semiconductors could Revolutionize DNA-Based Science

21 years, 4 months ago

9279  0
Posted on Oct 23, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

A new method that triggers and controls chemical reactions on single strands of DNA could lead to a new wave of DNA-based treatments and diagnostic procedures. Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory developed the new technology, which uses small organic molecules called "conductive linkers" to connect the electronic properties of semiconductors to biological or organic molecules.

A new method that triggers and controls chemical reactions on single strands of DNA could lead to a new wave of DNA-based treatments and diagnostic procedures. Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory developed the new technology, which uses small organic molecules called "conductive linkers" to connect the electronic properties of semiconductors to biological or organic molecules. The researchers found that they could control oxidation of DNA by using conductive linkers to connect strands of DNA to minute crystals of titanium dioxide. In the presence of light titanium dioxide crystals act as a semiconductor, and generates a strong oxidizing power that oxidizes any molecules present. As the four bases that make up DNA have different electrical properties, it is possible for the scientists to determine the sequence of the DNA by studying the speed of oxidation reactions. As well as helping with sequencing, the new technique could also help with gene therapy, as the technology also appears to act as an "artificial restriction enzyme" that can be controlled and focused with light.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.eurekalert.org on the 4th October 2002

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