DNA sequencing with smartphones may improve medical diagnosis

Scientists have created a simple 3-D-printed microscope compatible with a smartphone to analyse DNA.

This mobile DNA sequencing technology will make it easy to diagnose different forms of cancer, bacteria, or viruses.

Two LED lights and a special lens magnify a sample so scientists can view individual molecules of DNA.

Variants in DNA can then be detected.

The technology presents solutions for medical diagnosis in remote areas or places where other technology is too costly.

The technology runs with a smartphone battery and is easy to transport.

The microscope attachment costs less than US$500.

Professor Mats Nilsson from the Science for Life Laboratory claims the 3-D-printed microscope holds particular promise for tackling antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis.

In countries such as India, tuberculosis patients are sometimes given drugs that aren’t effective because their TB is resistant.

This technology can be used to determine whether drug-resistance genes are present.

The 3-D-printed microscope attachment is the result of collaboration between researchers from UCLA, Stockholm and Uppsala University and SciLifeLab.

The study were published in January 2017 in the journal Nature Communications.

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