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Genes with Liquid Lasers


Researchers at the University of Michigan are developing a way to detect gene mutations linked to cancer using a liquid laser, says the university's news service. Instead of using dyes or other biological tags to mark mutated genes — a technique that is less than perfect as the tags can bind to normal DNA and cause researchers to misinterpret the signal — the UMich research team developed a system based on laser emission "for differentiating a target DNA strand from strands that contain single base mismatches," the school adds. "Laser emission is used to amplify the small difference in signals that are generated by the different strands after they bind with a molecular beacon." This system renders mutated DNA hundreds of times brighter than normal DNA, allowing the researchers to filter out unwanted signals.

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

In a new poll, slightly more than half of US adults have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hill reports.

Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.