Scientists in Canada and the United States have developed a chip sensor for monitoring how drug candidates alter amyloid-β peptide aggregation that they hope could be used to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Research into Alzheimer’s disease has shown that the self-aggregation o ... more
Visualising DNA sequences
A new, fast way to analyse DNA could be used to sequence the genomes of viruses and in the future help tackle genetic disorders such as schizophrenia and congenital heart defects.
Robert Neely and colleagues have used a DNA methyltransferase enzyme to label the 5’-GCGC-3’ DNA sequences with a fluorescent marker. Immobilising and stretching the DNA on a surface then produces a unique and reproducible pattern when combined with the markers. The result is a ‘fluorocode’ - a simple description of the DNA sequence, which can be read and analyzed like a barcode. DNA barcodes using fluorescent tagging can be read quickly as labelled samples pass a detector, but Neely’s fluorocode gives significantly enhanced resolution and uses a much smaller number of DNA molecules.
Current DNA sequencing methods are able to sequence short regions of the genome. Regions that are either duplicated or deleted relative to a reference genome are an important cause of structural variation in the human genome with links to a variety of genetic disorders. But using current sequencing methods, studying these repeats is time consuming and labour intensive.
Original publication: Robert K. Neely, Peter Dedecker, Jun-ichi Hotta, Giedre, Urbanaviciute Saulius Klimašauskas and Johan Hofkens, Chemical Science., 2010.
Scientists in the UK have developed a new class of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) agents that promise to deliver clearer images more quickly. Chemical shifts from proton NMR normally fall between 0-12ppm, but water and fat resonate at 4.7 and 1.3ppm respectively, causing noise that can ov ... more
Scientists in China have developed a simple microchip that enables quick and inexpensive high-throughput screening of potential drug candidates in 3D cell cultures. Scientists often use cell-based high-throughput screening in the first stage of drug design as a technique to quickly identify ... more
Disappointing results in clinical Alzheimer’s studies discourage doctors and scientists from continuing their research into ɣ-secretases and a possible treatment against Alzheimer’s disease. In Cell, the Alzheimer’s expert Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven) argues that these studies are not p ... more
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from KU Leuven in Belgium has developed a new technique to examine how proteins interact with each other at the level of a single HIV viral particle. The technique allows scientists to study the life-threatening virus in detail and makes screening pot ... more
Despite advanced genome technologies, it remains a major challenge to identify small variations between the hereditary material (DNA) of different individuals. VIB scientists connected to the K.U.Leuven and the University of Antwerp describe in Nature Biotechnology a method that makes it po ... more
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