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Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Alexa, start my genome extraction

by Laurel Oldach
March 1, 2023


A microfluidic lab-on-a-chip device about the size of someone's palm sits next to a 500 won coin. It's made of tiny metal pumps, plastic hoses, and transparent plastic microfluidic layers, and is capable of extracting DNA from bacterial cells.
Credit: ACS Sensors

Fans of voice-activated assistants will soon have another to add to their arsenal. Researchers at Kyung Hee University have put together this start-to-finish bacterial DNA extraction system that can be operated by a speech-recognizing smartphone app. The device—shown here with its portable battery (blue) and a 500 won coin that’s 26.5 mm across—can extract DNA from lysed bacteria in less than a minute. Researchers load the lysate into an inlet chamber and trigger the automated gadget using the voice command “Total operation.” The device’s microfluidic system gets to work capturing the DNA on a bed of silica beads then washes and elutes the DNA. The authors report that the device yields about 70% of the DNA that can be extracted from the same amount of bacteria with a typical kit extraction protocol.

Credit: ACS Sensors 2023, DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.2c01849. Read the paper here.

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