Such sort of possibility is raised by a novel technique for regulating a robust but finicky procedure known as the polymerase chain reaction. PCR was introduced in 1983 by Kary Mullis, who also received a Nobel Prize for the same. It is usually considered one of the vital advances in the field of molecular biology as it can make billions of identical copies of tiny segments of DNA so they can be employed in genetic and molecular analysis.
Vanderbilt University biomedical engineers Nicholas Adams and Frederick Hasleton came up with an amazing idea that they called adaptive PCR. It employs left-handed DNA to monitor and regulate the molecular reactions that occur in the PCR process.
Left-handed DND is the mirror image of the DNA identified in all living things. It possesses the same physical properties, as the regular, right-handed DNA but it does not have active participation in most biological procedures. For this reason, when fluorescently tagged left handed DNA to a PCR sample, it acts in a similar way to the regular DNA and offers a fluorescent light signal that reports information about the molecular reactions occurring and can be used to regulate them.
For testing their idea, Haselton and Adams recruited Research Assistant lecturer of Physics William Gabella to prepare a working prototype of an adaptive PCR equipment and they experimented it extensively with the support of biomedical engineering undergraduate Austin Hardcastle.
Although, this technology is usually considered to be mature, the PCR machines have proven to be intricate to operate and hypersensitive to tiny variations in the chemical composition of samples and environmental conditions. It is largely because there has been no direct method to monitor what is taking place at the molecular level.
As a result, the adaptive method for regulating the PCR procedure promises to make it simpler to operate, enhance its reliability, reduce its sensitivity to environmental conditions and shrink it from desktop to handheld size. As a result, it could free PCR from the lab setting and enable it to work in the domain or at the bedside where it could be employed to identify distinct ailments by their DNA signatures.
Adaptive PCR sidesteps all sorts of variables by relying on the fluorescent L-DNA to determine the ideal cycle temperatures for denaturing and annealing. L-DNA sequences are commercially available. So the primary step is to order L-DNA with the same sequence as the right-handed DNA that you intend to amplify along with the left-handed primers.
According to the scientists that experiments with the prototype system have illustrated that the method duplicates the results of traditional PCR machines in regulated conditions and can effectively amplify DNA under conditions that results PCR to fail. “Such benefits have the potential to make PCR-based diagnostics more accessible outside of well-regulated laboratories, like field settings and point care,” says Gabella.
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