Reaction Kinetics of a DNA-Based Amplifier for Use in Detection of Cancer-Related miRNAs

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Dr. Bernard Yurke


Recent studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) of specific sequences indicate the presence of cancer. As these miRNAs are found in low abundance, they currently can be identified only through the use of lengthy and expensive amplifying processes such as real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Aspiring to create a faster and less expensive detection method, a DNA-based amplification network has been designed to detect these cancer-related miRNAs in blood serum. To ensure that the network will react to the miRNA as desired, preliminary reaction kinetics studies have been executed with sub-components of the amplification network. By adding fluorescent dyes and quencher dyes to the necessary DNA strands, hybridization and invasion rates can be measured using a spectrofluorometer. Although the results of these studies have been successful, it is theorized that the reaction rate can be improved. Variations to strands used in the invasion process have been created to determine if a slight change in sequence will encourage an increase in the reaction rate. Once an optimal rate is established, the corresponding sequence will be incorporated into the larger amplification network.

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