Page last updated at 00:39 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

DNA test for inherited diseases


Scientists develop new illness tests

A fast, low cost DNA test which can determine a person's chances of developing certain inherited diseases could soon be a reality, experts said.

A drop of saliva will be enough to allow medics to pinpoint variations in patients' genetic code in a test being formulated at Edinburgh University.

Tiny differences in the DNA chain can show if a person is prone to disease, or has a life-threatening condition.

It is cheaper and promises quicker results than conventional DNA testing

Based on chemical analysis it does away with the need for expensive enzymes, researchers said.

Dr Juan Diaz-Mochon, of the university's school of chemistry, said: "This technology offers a speedy, cost-efficient alternative to existing methods of DNA analysis.

"The market for DNA testing is quickly expanding as it becomes more affordable.

"Our method could help reach the goal of complete genome analysis in a few hours for less than £637."

Professor Mark Bradley, who also took part in the study, added: "We plan to test the technology further, extend our collaborations with leading researchers and companies in the DNA sequencing field and establish our first commercial operations within the next six months."

The study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, was funded by Scottish Enterprise.

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