Technology just gets better and better.There is now an app available that will allow your smartphone to analyze your DNA. How cool is that? This is a fantastic breakthrough for the medical field and can provide a cheap and effective way of diagnosing specific genetic mutations in cells. With diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer, treatment will vary from person to person and this is because different people have different DNA.
Genetic sequencing holds the key to many a problem when it comes to diagnosing patients as it can reveal whether certain antibiotics will work on a TB infection or not as well as see if a tumor has mutations that make certain drugs ineffective. But first, to determine the sequences of the DNA, up until now, physicians had to send samples off to be tested, which is both times consuming and costly. However, with thanks to this new smartphone app developed by a team from UCLA, Stockholm University, and Uppsala University, that could all be a thing of the past.
The new device works by allowing a smartphone to detect any mutations in a person’s DNA. It looks a little like a smartphone case, but this beauty is so much more. It consists of two lasers, a lens, a white LED, and a filter that turns the camera into a molecular microscope. First, a sample of the patient’s cells is taken and treated with chemicals to that scientists can hook on fluorescent molecules to particular genetic mutations. After this is done, the phone then examines the sample using the attached filter and looks for those glowing molecules. If these can be seen they know the cells’ DNA contains the mutations they were looking for.
What the team would really like to see now is the device mass produced. They estimate that if this could be done, the device could be readily available on the market for as little as $500 compared to other high-end versions out now that cost around $50,000 but essentially do the same thing.
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