Light Touch Identifies Wisps of Rogue DNA

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1462
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5586.1462a

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On page 1536, a team of chemists describes an assay for detecting genetic material that doesn't rely on the polymerase chain reaction, which limits a test's speed and often increases its false-positive rate. The new technique can detect DNA or RNA at a concentration of about 20 femtomolar: about one part in 3 trillion for an aqueous solution. That's hundreds of times better than most other methods, the researchers say.