D.N.A. the New Barcode?

Will your D.N.A. be the new barcode?

George Orwell couldn’t have dreamed this up

IBM scientists are working on ambitious research where nano-sized holes will be drilled into computer chips and DNA passed through to create a ‘genetic code reader’.

IBM said that experts from nanofabrication, microelectronics, physics and biology are working together to master a technique where a long DNA molecule passes through a three nanometer wide hole (a nanopore).

As the molecule passes through the nanopore one unit of DNA at a time, an electrical sensor can ‘read’ the DNA.

schematics-of-the-dna-transitorThe challenge of the silicon-based ‘DNA Transistor’ would be to slow and control the motion of the DNA through the hole so the reader could decode what is inside it.

IBM claimed that if the project was successful it could make personalized genome analysis as cheap as $100 to $1,000, and compared it to the first ever sequencing done for the Human Genome Project, which cost $3 billion.

For any doubter out there, ‘Big Blue’ has released a video of its own discussing the possible implications, and some of the processes involved:

Interesting, and slightly scary, stuff.
from Ken Eakins

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