A more powerful ‘lab-on-a-chip’ for genetic analysis
August 2, 2011
Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have invented a microfluidic silicone chip that could make genetic analysis more sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective by allowing individual cells to fall into place like balls in a pinball machine.
The UBC device — about the size of a nine-volt battery — allows scientists to simultaneously analyze 300 cells individually by routing fluid-carrying cells through microscopic tubes and valves. Once isolated into their separate chambers, the cells’ RNA can be extracted and replicated for further analysis.
By enabling such “single-cell analysis,” the device could accelerate genetic research and hasten the use of far more detailed tests for diagnosing cancer.