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Home > Press > Graphene and DNA team up to sense trouble

An illustration of how fluorescent-tagged DNA interacts with functionalized graphene. Both single-stranded DNA (A) and double-stranded DNA (B) are adsorbed onto a graphene surface, but the interaction is stronger with
ssDNA, causing the  fluorescence on the ssDNA  to darken more. C) A complementary DNA nears the ssDNA and causes the adsorbed ssDNA to detach from the graphene surface. D) DNA adsorbed onto graphene is protected from being broken down.
An illustration of how fluorescent-tagged DNA interacts with functionalized graphene. Both single-stranded DNA (A) and double-stranded DNA (B) are adsorbed onto a graphene surface, but the interaction is stronger with ssDNA, causing the fluorescence on the ssDNA to darken more. C) A complementary DNA nears the ssDNA and causes the adsorbed ssDNA to detach from the graphene surface. D) DNA adsorbed onto graphene is protected from being broken down.

Abstract:
Just as in formulaic geek-tough guy buddy movies, nobody was convinced that delicate single-stranded DNA could work with graphene, a tough nanomaterial made of sheets of carbon atoms.

Graphene and DNA team up to sense trouble

Posted on June 23rd, 2010

However, scientists at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Princeton University believed the two would make a great team for detecting diseases using blood, saliva, and other biological fluids. And, just like in the movies, DNA and graphene really get the job done. Through a series of studies at DOE's EMSL, the team found that the single-stranded DNA picks out biomolecules that indicate disease with a high degree of specificity. The graphene protects the DNA from being broken down by enzymes while it works. This research could lead to stable biosensors that are more accurate than conventional sensors and for application in gene therapy. PNNL's Transformational Materials Science Initiative funded this study.

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