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Novel DNA-dye hybrids sniff out odors.

Robinson R - PLoS Biol. (2008)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

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Because each nucleotide position within the molecule can be occupied by any one of four bases, there are 4 possible dinucleotides (“2mers”), 4 possible trinucleotides (“3mers”), and so on; by the time we reach 21 nucleotides, there are over a trillion possible “21mers,” each with a unique sequence... In a new study, Joel White, John Kauer, and colleagues show that a fluorescent dye, linked to a variety of short DNA molecules and dried onto a solid surface, will respond differently to different odor molecules, depending on the exact DNA sequence to which it is attached... Their results show that such DNA–dye hybrids have the potential to act as sensors in an “artificial nose,” detecting and distinguishing among a range of odors... The authors initially used double-stranded DNA, which was linked to a dye that inserts itself between successive rungs on the DNA ladder and dried onto a solid plastic surface... While the dye preferentially responded to one test odor over others, no sequence specificity was observed... After confirming a high degree of replicability among tests of a single sequence with an odor test set, the authors tested 29 different sequences against the same set of odors... Among these sequences, they found ten groups that responded differently to the odor set... That a relatively large proportion of the initial set of sequences showed different responses suggests that the number of different sensors among larger libraries of small DNA molecules is likely to be enormous. 2,4-dinitrotoluene, found in the vapor signature of TNT from landmines, could be detected down to six parts per billion, indicating the potential for practical and life-saving applications of this technology... In theory, some other heteropolymer could create a similar variety of chemical environments to alter the dye's response to odor... But the tools for synthesizing and manipulating DNA are more advanced than those for any other polymer (except perhaps RNA)... This study not only highlights DNA's potential as the scaffolding for a novel and powerful odor detection system, but it also highlights its potential to play other novel roles, well outside of its familiar one as the basis of life.

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DNA's combinatorial nature and the finding that solid-state DNA responds to vaporized odors reveals a novel function for this intensely studied molecule: its capacity to produce a vast repertoire of odor sensors for an artificial nose system that can detect many different compounds.(Painting credit: Dr. MJ Morse, Manager Science and Technology, Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)
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pbio-0060020-g001: DNA's combinatorial nature and the finding that solid-state DNA responds to vaporized odors reveals a novel function for this intensely studied molecule: its capacity to produce a vast repertoire of odor sensors for an artificial nose system that can detect many different compounds.(Painting credit: Dr. MJ Morse, Manager Science and Technology, Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)


Novel DNA-dye hybrids sniff out odors.

Robinson R - PLoS Biol. (2008)

DNA's combinatorial nature and the finding that solid-state DNA responds to vaporized odors reveals a novel function for this intensely studied molecule: its capacity to produce a vast repertoire of odor sensors for an artificial nose system that can detect many different compounds.(Painting credit: Dr. MJ Morse, Manager Science and Technology, Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2211547&req=5

pbio-0060020-g001: DNA's combinatorial nature and the finding that solid-state DNA responds to vaporized odors reveals a novel function for this intensely studied molecule: its capacity to produce a vast repertoire of odor sensors for an artificial nose system that can detect many different compounds.(Painting credit: Dr. MJ Morse, Manager Science and Technology, Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Because each nucleotide position within the molecule can be occupied by any one of four bases, there are 4 possible dinucleotides (“2mers”), 4 possible trinucleotides (“3mers”), and so on; by the time we reach 21 nucleotides, there are over a trillion possible “21mers,” each with a unique sequence... In a new study, Joel White, John Kauer, and colleagues show that a fluorescent dye, linked to a variety of short DNA molecules and dried onto a solid surface, will respond differently to different odor molecules, depending on the exact DNA sequence to which it is attached... Their results show that such DNA–dye hybrids have the potential to act as sensors in an “artificial nose,” detecting and distinguishing among a range of odors... The authors initially used double-stranded DNA, which was linked to a dye that inserts itself between successive rungs on the DNA ladder and dried onto a solid plastic surface... While the dye preferentially responded to one test odor over others, no sequence specificity was observed... After confirming a high degree of replicability among tests of a single sequence with an odor test set, the authors tested 29 different sequences against the same set of odors... Among these sequences, they found ten groups that responded differently to the odor set... That a relatively large proportion of the initial set of sequences showed different responses suggests that the number of different sensors among larger libraries of small DNA molecules is likely to be enormous. 2,4-dinitrotoluene, found in the vapor signature of TNT from landmines, could be detected down to six parts per billion, indicating the potential for practical and life-saving applications of this technology... In theory, some other heteropolymer could create a similar variety of chemical environments to alter the dye's response to odor... But the tools for synthesizing and manipulating DNA are more advanced than those for any other polymer (except perhaps RNA)... This study not only highlights DNA's potential as the scaffolding for a novel and powerful odor detection system, but it also highlights its potential to play other novel roles, well outside of its familiar one as the basis of life.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus