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Thread: IBM Builds 'Bar Code Reader' for DNA

  1. #1

    Default IBM Builds 'Bar Code Reader' for DNA

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    IBM Builds 'Bar Code Reader' for DNA


    In this cross-section of the DNA Transistor, a single strand of DNA moves amidst (invisible) water molecules through the nanopore


    The DNA Transistor schematic. By alternating the voltages to the metal contacts, the DNA is moved from the top to the bottom



    Imagine a world where medicine is guaranteed not to cause adverse reactions because it's designed for an individual's DNA.

    Imagine a diet tailored to the precise speed of a person's metabolism. Using a little microelectronics, a little physics, and no small dose of biology, IBM has brought that futuristic world a little bit closer.

    The DNA Transistor is a project from IBM Research that aims to advance personalized medicine, by making it simpler (and much cheaper) to read an individual's unique DNA sequence — the special combination of proteins that makes you unlike anyone else.

    The technology isn't finished yet, but its potential is tantalizin enough that IBM wanted to share it with the world. And the company claims researchers are making progress.

    Essentially a bar code reader for genes, the DNA Transistor is part technique and part device. It consists of a 3-nanometer wide hole, known as a nanopore, in a silicon microchip. A sensor in the pore can read DNA and determine its unique makeup.

    The challenge scientists face is controlling the rate at which a strand moves through that nanopore: A DNA molecule needs to spend enough time in it for the sequencing to work. By cycling voltages to the transistor's poles, IBM aims to move the DNA through the nanopore at a consistent rate one nucleotide (molecule of DNA) at a time.

    The company's researchers are currently investigating various housings for the pore as well, honing the multilayer (metal and dielectric) nano-structures to move samples through more evenly.

    “The technologies that make reading DNA fast, cheap and widely available have the potential to revolutionize bio-medical research and herald an era of personalized medicine,” said IBM research scientist Gustavo Stolovitzky. “Ultimately, it could improve the quality of medical care by identifying patients who will gain the greatest benefit from a particular medicine and those who are most at risk of adverse reaction.”


    Posted by pooja at 6:26 AM
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  2. #2

    Default

    I wonder how many variations of abuse and control have already been factored into this development?
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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