Graphene for DNA Sequencing PossibleCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: October 15, 2012 06:34AM
Graphene that oft talked about form of carbon may be making the jump from miracle electronic material to miracle genetic material. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have found a way to control the size of the pores in a piece of graphene. By making these pores the correct size to thread a piece of DNA, it should be possible to use graphene as a sensor for sequencing DNA.
To achieve this manipulation of the pores, the researchers combined two methods of affecting the single-atom thick sheet of carbon. They heated it to 1200 ºC and used an electron beam from an electron microscope, and only together do these two techniques affect the pores. Now that the pores can be controlled, the researchers are going to work on building a device to take advantage of this research.
The first time DNA was sequenced it cost about $2.7 billion dollars, but now technology has brought the price down to under $1000. By using a graphene though, the cost could drop even further, which could greatly improve medicine. One of these improvements cheap DNA sequencing would bring about is individualized medication. As everyone is different, drugs can affect people differently, but by sequencing their DNA a doctor could design a drug to be more potent for the patient.