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Biosens Bioelectron. 2016 Jan 15;75:28-33.

High-throughput sample-to-answer detection of DNA/RNA in crude samples within functionalized micro-pipette tips.


We develop a micro-pipette tip-based nucleic acid test (MTNT) for high-throughput sample-to-answer detection of both DNA and RNA from crude samples including cells, bacteria, and solid plants, without the need of sample pretreatment and complex operation. MTNT consists of micro-pipette tips and embedded solid phase nucleic acid extraction membranes, and fully integrates the functions of nucleic acid extraction from crude samples, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) of nucleic acids, and visual readout of assays. The total assaying time for DNA or RNA from a variety of crude samples ranges from 90 to 160 min. The limit of detection (LOD) of MTNT is 2 copies of plasmids containing the target nucleic acid fragments of Ebola virus, and 8 CFU of Escherichia coli carrying Ebola virus-derived plasmids. MTNT can also detect CK-19 mRNA from as few as 2 cancer cells without complicated procedures such as RNA extraction and purification. We further demonstrate MTNT in a high-throughput format using an eight-channel pipette and a homemade mini-heater, with a maximum throughput of 40 samples. Compared with other point-of-care (POC) nucleic acid tests (NAT), MTNT could assay both DNA and RNA directly from liquid (cells/bacteria/blood) or solid (plant) samples in a straightforward, sensitive, high-throughput, and containment-free manner, suggesting a considerable promise for low-cost and POC NAT in remote areas.

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