DNA sequencing promises to improve the way in which diseases such as cancer are diagnosed, monitored, and treated. The technology relies on detecting fluorescent signals created when pieces of DNA bind together on a microchip. An emerging technology—electrophoresis on microchips—has aided DNA sequencing by miniaturizing processing technologies. Miniaturization has reduced the time needed to analyze samples and decreased the sample size required for testing.
To extend the power of DNA sequencing, a research team has developed a new microscope that can identify fluorescently labeled DNA sequencing fragments that have been separated by microchip technology. Using the new microscope, researchers will gain more information from a single electrophoresis test because more fluorescent dyes can be used and detected. Researchers expect to gain additional insights into the molecular profiles of many diseases as a result of these developments.