(Rich Pell – Smart2.0) – Engineers at the UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA) and the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) of The Claremont Colleges (Claremont, CA) have combined CRISPR – a genome editing tool – with graphene transistors to create a hand-held device that can detect specific genetic mutations in a matter of minutes.
The device, dubbed CRISPR-Chip (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), could be used to rapidly diagnose genetic diseases or to evaluate the accuracy of gene-editing techniques, say the scientists.
To demonstrate CRISPR-Chip’s sensitivity, the researchers used the device to detect two common genetic mutations in blood samples from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients.
“We have developed the first transistor that uses CRISPR to search your genome for potential mutations,” says Kiana Aran, an assistant professor at KGI who conceived of the technology while a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley. “You just put your purified DNA sample on the chip, allow CRISPR to do the search, and the graphene transistor reports the result of this search in minutes.”