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Using microfluidics to improve genetics research

9 March 2017

23.01.17 – Scientists at EPFL have developed a technique that can be a game-changer for genetics by making the characterization of DNA-binding proteins much faster, more accurate, and efficient.

Genes hold the DNA code for producing all the proteins of the cell. To begin this process, genes require a huge family of DNA-binding proteins called transcription factors, which are of enormous interest to biologists today. However, we still know very little about many transcription factors because of their large number, their ability to combine into different pairs, and the difficulty of studying their DNA-binding properties in the lab. Now, EPFL scientists have developed a microfluidics-based technique that can greatly speed up the process, with only a minimum of materials. Publishing in Nature Methods, the researchers have already used it to determine the DNA-binding properties of over 60 transcription factors, including nine new ones.

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