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Two groups of researchers have created smartphone-based DNA-analyzing devices that can aid medical research.
The first group is composed of researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Stockholm University, and Uppsala University. The researchers created a portable device that functions as a microscope to give accurate DNA analysis and infection identification. The device, which can be attached to any smartphone, uses specialized lens and laser components to examine segments of a patient’s DNA.
The researchers aim to aid medical professionals in curing cancer and infectious diseases through the device, which is less costly than a lab-based kit. Moreover, they want to ease hospitals and medical institutions from the trouble of sending DNA samples to remote laboratories. The researchers also added that if mass-produced, the device will cost less than $500.
The second group, UK-based firm Oxford Nanopore Technologies also developed a portable device called SmidgION, which can also be attached to a mobile phone to analyze DNA samples.
SmidgION is smaller than Oxford’s previous DNA-analyzing device called MinION. According to Clive Brown, chief technology officer of the firm, their newest device uses the same DNA sequencing technology as their other devices. However, this device will be using an electronics-based test instead of specialized lenses and lasers. SmidgION is expected to be available in the market this year.
SmidgION has a variety of potential functions, such as monitoring disease outbreaks and real-time species identification of wildlife, food, and other samples. In line with this, the firm expects that the device will appeal to medical and field researchers.