Annual Report 2002 - Cornell University
003 Selected Faculty Research

04 Speeding up gene sequencing

Harold G. Craighead, Applied and Engineering Physics, and his research group—graduate student Mario Cabodi and postdoctoral researcher Stephen W. Turner—demonstrated a new method of separating DNA molecules by length. The approach has great potential for expediting gene sequencing and DNA fingerprinting. The researchers used their own nanofabricated device in the previously discovered process, entropic recoil force, to obtain the best means yet of distinguishing different lengths of DNA strands. Their demonstration revealed that, using their method, it is possible to separate strands of many different lengths. The traditional method of separating DNA is gel electrophoresis: a strand is cut into many pieces and passed through a porous gel, where shorter lengths move faster and farther than longer ones. Information about the genetic content can be determined from the distribution of the fragments. The Craighead group will use their new method in search of ways to create chips or other microscopic devices that can automate the process.

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© 2003 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University.

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