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Chemosensors 2015, 3(3), 224-240; doi:10.3390/chemosensors3030224

Novel Signal-Enhancing Approaches for Optical Detection of Nucleic Acids—Going beyond Target Amplification

1
Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
2
Nucleic Acid Center, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Campusvej 55, Odense M 5230, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Igor Medintz
Received: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 16 September 2015 / Published: 23 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [618 KB, uploaded 23 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

Detection of low-abundance nucleic acids is a challenging task, which over the last two decades has been solved using enzymatic target amplification. Enzymatic synthesis enhances the signal so that diverse, scientifically and clinically relevant molecules can be identified and studied, including cancer DNA, viral nucleic acids, and regulatory RNAs. However, using enzymes increases the detection time and cost, not to mention the high risk of mistakes with amplification and data alignment. These limitations have stimulated a growing interest in enzyme-free methods within researchers and industry. In this review we discuss recent advances in signal-enhancing approaches aimed at nucleic acid diagnostics that do not require target amplification. Regardless of enzyme usage, signal enhancement is crucial for the reliable detection of nucleic acids at low concentrations. We pay special attention to novel nanomaterials, fluorescence microscopy, and technical advances in detectors for optical assessment. We summarize sensitivity parameters of the currently available assays and devices which makes this review relevant to the broad spectrum of researchers working in fields from biophysics, to engineering, to synthetic biology and bioorganic chemistry. View Full-Text
Keywords: enzyme-free detection; low-abundance nucleic acids; detection by optical methods; Specificity; Sensitivity; SNP/SNV analysis enzyme-free detection; low-abundance nucleic acids; detection by optical methods; Specificity; Sensitivity; SNP/SNV analysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Miotke, L.; Barducci, M.C.; Astakhova, K. Novel Signal-Enhancing Approaches for Optical Detection of Nucleic Acids—Going beyond Target Amplification. Chemosensors 2015, 3, 224-240.

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