Advances in nanoscience are having a significant impact on many scientific fields, boosting the development of a variety of important technologies. The impact of these new technologies is particularly large in biodiagnostics, where a number of nanoparticle-based assays have been introduced for biomolecular detection. The physicochemical malleability and high surface areas of nanoparticle surfaces make them ideal candidates for developing biomarker platforms. Given the variety of strategies afforded through nanoparticle technologies, a significant goal is to tailor nanoparticle surfaces to selectively bind a subset of biomarkers, either for direct detection and characterization or to sequester the target molecules for later study using other available techniques. To date, applications of nanoparticles have largely focused on DNA- or protein-functionalized gold nanoparticles used as the target-specific probes. These unique biophysical properties displayed by gold nanoparticles have huge advantages over conventional detection methods (e.g., molecular fluorophores, microarray technologies). These gold-nanoparticle based systems can then be used for the detection of specific sequences of DNA (pathogen detection, characterization of mutation and/or SNPs) or RNA (without previous retro-transcription and amplification).
Keywords: Nanotechnology, genotyping, mutation detection, gold nanoparticles, nanosensors, cancer, pharmacogenetics
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