Smartphone-Enabled Detection Strategies for Portable PCR-Based Diagnostics.
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Incredible progress continues to be made toward development of low-cost nucleic acid-based diagnostic solutions suitable for deployment in resource-limited settings. Detection components play a vitally important role in these systems, but have proven challenging to adapt for operation in a portable format. Here we describe efforts aimed at leveraging the capabilities of consumer-class smartphones as a convenient platform to enable detection of nucleic acid products associated with DNA amplification via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). First, we show how fluorescence-based detection can be incorporated into a portable convective thermocycling system controlled by a smartphone app. Raw images captured by the phone's camera are processed to yield real-time amplification data comparable to benchtop instruments. Next, we leverage smartphone imaging to achieve label-free detection of PCR products by monitoring changes in electrochemical reactivity of embedded metal electrodes as the target DNA concentration increases during replication. These advancements make it possible to construct rugged inexpensive nucleic acid detection components that can be readily embedded in a variety of portable bioanalysis instruments.
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