Visualising DNA sequences

20-08-2010: 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.

Facts, background information, dossiers
More about Royal Society of Chemistry
  • News

    Therapeutic screening for Alzheimer’s disease

    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

    Moving the MRI goalposts

    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

    High-throughput drug screening in 3D

    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

More about Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE