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An attogram of DNA to go please…

Posted by Robert Bradbury: Cornell scientists, headed by Harold Craighead, and researchers at Tel Aviv University have a forthcoming paper in Nano Letters regarding the use of nanoscale cantilever oscillators to detect the presence of single DNA molecules weighing ~1 attogram (~995,000 Daltons). PhysOrg discusses it here. Uses may include detecting bacteria or viruses of specific masses as well as eventually small molecules. Generally speaking the masses of viruses and to a lesser extent bacteria should be unique enough that a relatively accurate mass reading could provide a good indication of what you are dealing with. This would be much faster than methods such as DNA or RNA sequencing (fingerprinting) or antibody (ELISA) analysis.

This brings to mind the “Single Proton Massometers” mentioned in Nanomedicine Volume I.

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Ed. Note: The article does contain one minor error. Many common viruses use a RNA core to carry the genomic program rather than DNA.

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