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Who Needs Labels?: Macromolecular Interaction Sans Labels

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Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1561
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1561


When it comes to monitoring biological interactions, whether of nucleic acids, proteins,small molecules, or cells, labels are essential for detection, right? Researchers certainly have embraced detection modalities based on tagging with radioisotopes, fluorescent dyes, and conjugated enzymes. Yet in many cases such molecular baggage is unnecessary, and possibly detrimental. But there is another way. Whether based on optical, mechanical, or electrical detection, label-free methods can probe molecular pas de deux in their native, unadulterated states. As a result, they are faster, simpler, and more physiological than their labeled counterparts.