The systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) technique has been extensively used to screen molecule-specific aptamers from combinatorial libraries of synthetic nucleic acids. Aptamers are single-stranded DNA or RNA, which have a high affinity to a large variety of molecules ranging from small drugs or metabolites to cells. Therefore, they have a variety of promising applications such as for diagnostics and targeted therapeutics. In this study, a new microfluidic chip was developed to perform continuous screening of DNA-based aptamers in an automatic format. When compared with the existing manual procedure, the developed microfluidic chip has several advantages including a rapid and efficient screening process, automation, and less consumption of samples/reagents. Experimental data showed that an aptamer specific to alpha-fetoprotein was successfully screened from a random DNA pool. The entire screening process (five continuous, repetitive rounds) can be completed within 6 h, which is much faster than the traditional methods (more than 15 h). An automatic, rapid and efficient SELEX process was performed by this developed microfluidic chip, which may enable a generalized platform for the fast screening of DNA-based biomarkers in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry