Digital biology gives new approach to DNA quantification

THE FIRST product based on Bio-Rad’s ‘digital biology’ technology, the QX100 droplet digital PCR system, applies sample partitioning to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and promises a new approach to nucleic acid quantification.

PCR is widely used to amplify and quantify nucleic acids. Droplet digital PCR offers greater precision in the quantification of target nucleic acid molecules, giving more accurate determination of copy number variation as well as the detection of rare mutation events such as those seen in certain tumours.

Applications of these capabilities have the potential to provide new strategies for diagnosis of inherited disorders, cancer, and infectious disease, says Bio-Rad.

Droplet digital PCR (abbreviated to ddPCR) provides an absolute measure of target DNA molecules which, says Bio-Rad, gives unrivalled performance in precision, accuracy, and sensitivity.

The QX100 droplet generator partitions samples into 20,000 nanolitre-sized droplets. After conventional PCR on a thermal cycler, droplets from every sample are streamed in single file on the QX100 droplet reader. The PCR-positive and PCR-negative droplets are counted to provide absolute quantification of target DNA in digital form to detect rare DNA target copies.

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