The detection of DNA hybridisation is very important for the diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases, for the detection of infectious agents and for reliable forensic analysis. Recent activity has focused on the development of hybridisation assays that permit simultaneous determination of multiple DNA targets , using optical or electrochemical coding technology, based on unique encoding properties of semiconductor crystal nanoparticle tags (quantum dots). Described multi-target DNA assays were performed in batch mode, involving significant amount of steps, connected with the possibility of human error, time and reagents consuming.
"Lab-on-a-chip" technology offers tremendous potential for obtaining desired analytical information in a simpler, faster and cheaper way compared to traditional batch/laboratory-based technology. Particularly attractive for multiple DNA recognition applications (i.e. point-of-care) is the high-throughput, automation, versatility, portability, reagent/sample economy and high-performance of such micro machined devices.
Overall objective of the proposed research is to create and characterize a portable micro-analyser, based on a novel advanced "Lab-on-a-Chip" technology with magnetic separation and end-column quantum dots tracers voltammetric detection of multiple DNA targets for "point-of-care", automated, high-throughput, sensitive, selective and simultaneous assays. The new micro-total analytical system will rely on coupling of micro-fluidic transport of samples, effective flow-through magnetic separation complementary/non-complementary DNA targets and a novel chip-based voltammetric stripping detection of quantum dot tags. To successfully complete such advanced micro-total analytical system, several fundamental and practical issues will be addressed.
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