Washington, May 23 : Researchers at University of Queensland have developed fluorescent "barcodes" called nanostrings, which may have research and clinical application and may also be used for early diagnosis of disease.
Developed by Dr Krassen Dimitrov, from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, these nanostrings are a step ahead of current detection methods in providing greater sensitivity and accuracy.
He also said that nanostrings attach with RNA molecules for digital gene expression analysis.
"Because this system can count the exact number of biomolecules present we can get an extremely accurate and sensitive picture of gene expression at a particular point in time. This quantitative data is superior to other gene expression systems such as microarrays, which rely on the analogue measurement of fluorescence and therefore are less accurate and have a limited range," Nature quoted Dimitrov, as saying.
He added: "The nanostring is an important technological development in both clinical and research settings. We will be able to more accurately detect molecules associated with particular diseases and in the research arena, we will be able to identify new molecules associated with diseases and trace these back to the genes responsible."
Also, he pointed it out that the technology is based on a non-enzymatic process that diminishes the chance of bias and is quite tough in a number of different conditions.
Currently, Dimitrov is planning to develop new nano-barcodes that can further reduce the cost and improve sensitivity and usability.
The research has been published the prestigious international journal Nature Biotechnology.