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Science. 2003 Jul 11;301(5630):213-5.

A B cell-based sensor for rapid identification of pathogens.

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  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02420, USA.


We report the use of genetically engineered cells in a pathogen identification sensor. This sensor uses B lymphocytes that have been engineered to emit light within seconds of exposure to specific bacteria and viruses. We demonstrated rapid screening of relevant samples and identification of a variety of pathogens at very low levels. Because of its speed, sensitivity, and specificity, this pathogen identification technology could prove useful for medical diagnostics, biowarfare defense, food- and water-quality monitoring, and other applications.

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