New Functional DNA Sensors from University of Illinois

University of Illinois chemists have come up with simple portable and inexpensive glucose meters that are no longer just for the use of diabetics. Chemistry professor Yi Lu and postdoctoral researcher Yu Xiang published their findings in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Professor Lu said that the advantages of their method were high portability, low cost, wide availability and quantitative detection of a broad range of targets in medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

Lu added that anyone could use it for a wide range of detections at home and in the field for targets they may care about, such as vital metabolites for a healthy living, contaminants in their drinking water or food, or potential disease markers.

The glucose meter is an important tool for diagnosis and detection in diabetics. However the new meter can candle a number of target molecules in blood, serum, water and food. The researchers used a class of molecular sensors called functional DNA sensors to do so.

Lu, who also is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and with the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Lab at U. of I said that their method significantly expanded the range of targets the glucose monitor can detect. He also said that it was simple enough for someone to use at home, without the high costs and long waiting period of going to the clinics or sending samples to professional labs.

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