The World of DNA Sequencing
It has always been the goal of humanity to understand the world around them, Aristotle looked to the stars, Einstein looked to atoms, and Freud looked to psychology. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that scientists have consistently delved into the microscopic world to learn more about diseases – specifically, what causes them and what can cure them. DNA sequencing helps in that process of finding cures for disease or treatments. But to do so, you must learn the lingo of DNA coding and understand the fundamentals of that.
The History and Emergence of PCR
Once one delves into the world of DNA, it becomes evident how intricate it really is. As such, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) was developed as a way to better sequence and copy DNA for further study. The entire process became a major game changer at the time it came out in the nineties. It even was recognized for its impact in 1993 with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Today, PCR is used in a variety of practices for DNA: diagnosing disease, identifying bacteria, matching DNA in criminal cases, etc. Because sequencing DNA is a complex process, the same applies to PCR, which is partially why it takes so long to have a PCR test conducted. Fortunately, a new study could present a solution to that problem.
What the New Study Reveals
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of California in Berkeley, was published in Light Science & Applications. Of course, speeding up the PCR process has been talked about for years, and yet, no one was able to come up with a feasible way to carry it out.
To finally accomplish the task, researchers used LEDs to heat electrons in the DNA solution are heated on gold film, which acts as a conductor. By doing so, the temperatures increased at fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit per second and cooled down nearly as fast – only ten degrees slower than the heating process. With this new method, the PCR test can be conducted in minutes rather than hours.