Speaking of DNA sequencing, a month ago Damien forwarded,
> 7 January 2001
> A medical school drop-out will unveil next month an invention which could
> revolutionise the mapping of the human genome and lead far more quickly to
> potential cures for cancer, diabetes and other diseases.
> He has created a "biochip", part cell and part microchip, by harnessing
> "quantum physics with biology". The chip, Mr Densham will proclaim at its
> launch next month, can read genetic codes in a fraction of the time of
> current mapping methods.
They were supposed to have more information in about a month, but
all I have found is their web site at http://www.mobious.com [sic].
This has a flash animation proclaiming that gel electrophoresis is
dead as a DNA sequencing technology, to be replaced by their "molecular
According to the limited information provided in the slide show, DNA
sequencing is done by breaking the DNA into fragments, which are then
sequenced, and the results put back together computationally. This is
done via gel electrophoresis, in which the fragments are separated in
a gel medium.
The new technique is apparently able to accomplish sequencing in a
different way, and its advantage is that it can handle longer fragments.
This makes the reassembly process much faster and provides for rapid
One goal described on the web site is to monitor changes in the genome of
disease organisms over short time scales. When a pathogen invades the
body, it is entering unknown territory with its own particular hazards.
Under those circumstances, selection pressures will rapidly change the
gene pool of the invader during the initial generations. According
to the site, the bacteria that eventually make you sick have a very
different genomic composition than the ones which initially entered
the body. Tracking these short-term changes will be possible using
Mobious technology and may provide new insights into the progress of
Of course another often discussed goal is to speed up sequencing to the
point where everyone (or at least sick people) can have their personal
genomes sequenced to help target medical therapies. Hopefully Mobious
will provide more information soon about how their technology actually
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:40 MDT