Technological Breakthrough for DNA Scientists

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DNA (short for deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule in the body that carries genetic instructions. These genetic instructions are necessary for the growth, development, functioning and reproduction not only of humans but all known living organisms and even viruses. It’s not surprising that this is an area that has stimulated many scientists’ interest over the years since the assembly of a toolkit of techniques was assembled by molecular biologists in the 1970s and 80s. There are numerous areas of genome oriented study and practice, with scientists making major breakthroughs every now and then.

The Importance of Genetic Studies

The human genome contains more than 30,000 genes. What we currently know is that every single cell in our body contains the same genome, but not all genes are expressed in every cell. Specific expressions are turned on and off as the body necessitates their function. For example, in the pancreas, certain genes are expressed for producing insulin when necessary. The comprehension of how genes function could prove phenomenal for the human race. Gene therapy, for example, is a clinical procedure in which a gene or other DNA is used to treat or cure a disease.

Chromatin Immunoprecipitation

ChIP (otherwise known as chromatin immunoprecipitation) is a process which is used to determine whether any given protein binds to or is localised to a specific data sequence in vivo. It is a highly effective procedure, allowing scientists to study specific proteins or modified forms of proteins and their interactions with a genomic DNA region. It usually follows four main steps.

  1. The cross-linking of DNA and associated proteins on chromatin in living cells and soft tissues.
  2. The shearing of DNA-protein complexes (also referred to as chromatin-protein) into ~500bp fragments by sonication or nuclease digestion.
  3. The selective immunoprecipitation of cross-linked DNA fragments from the cell debris (this employs the use of an appropriate protein-specific antibody).
  4. The purification of associated DNA fragments and the determination of their sequence.

If certain DNA sequences are enriched, this indicates that these areas are associated with the protein of interest in vivo.

Chromatrap

So, to a brilliant breakthrough in technology that could see the progression of science for the sake of humanity: Chromatrap. Porvair Sciences are best known for their production of Ultra-clean microplates, 96-well filter plates and Microplate handling equipment for life sciences and synthetic chemistry, however, their latest product, Chromatrap, has been developed by Porvair Sciences in collaboration with Swansea University. Chromatrap provides a high-quality alternative to bead-based filter kits currently provided by most marketplace competitors, as it uses revolutionary spin columns and filter-bottom micro plates. This helps researchers to get the best possible results in epigenetic research: Chromatrap ensures that ChIP can be performed in under five hours, requires less manual handling (which helps to minimise sample loss), is optimised for 1000 ng sample sizes (smaller samples give better qPCR results) and allows more IP assays from a single sample.

With the availability of this new and improved technology, it’s only a matter of time before scientists gain more from their studies. This will allow them to progress their knowledge and understanding of genomes and develop new ways for DNA to help people all over the world.

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