Re: Increasing Info.

Tue, 9 Jun 1998 19:54:04 -0500

At 11:26 AM 6/9/98 EST, you wrote:
>Joel mentioned an experimental procedure that may increase the speed at
>which DNA can be sequenced. I believe the process in question was
>reported in the recent MIT magazine.
>The process utilizes a membrane with a pore size small enough to allow
>only one DNA/RNA strand to pass through. A voltage in maintained across
>the membrane controls the speed which the molecule passes through. As
>the DNA threads its way through, a property of the membrane changes
>(perhaps conductivity, voltage, capacitance ?) depending on the base that
>is in the pore at that time.

Just to show you how little I know about the technology I am not sure if
this is the same thing as I was thinking of or not. What I had remembered
was something called MALDI (Matric-assisted laser desorption/ionization).
In the paper I am looking at (Chen et. al., 1996 LRA 8:87-99) it states that
an optimistic view would have 50 megabases being sequenced in one day
allowing the human genome to be sequenced within two months. Even acheiving
half of this rate would be a huge breakthrough. I seem to recollect a recent
note in science that this method has advanced significantly since 1996 and
may soon be used for DNA sequencing.

Actually the imputus behind increasing the rate of DNA analysis is not to
get genome sequences but for rapid genetic screening. The hope is for fast,
cheap population screening for diseases. It is probably this application
that will interest some on this list.

joel duff