News - June 8, 2011

New DNA analysis

Luisa Trindade, of the Plant Breeding chair group, worked with French and Chinese researchers to develop a new DNA analysis procedure. The new analysis is more precise than standard DNA techniques, even when used on one thousand times less DNA. Trindade’s research team published the new analytical procedure in this week’s Nature Methods.

The new method, known as LinDA, is capable of copying all the DNA fragments in a sample. To do this, the researchers use a bit of DNA from a virus called the T7 promoter. In existing techniques, only those DNA fragments are copied which are a precise mirror image of the promoters used by the researchers. Moreover, LinDA only copies the original DNA fragments, whereas the methods used up to now also make copies of copies. This makes LinDA more precise, so that less DNA is needed to make a reliable analysis.

This new method enables the researchers to make a good analysis of small numbers of stem cells and tumour tissue in the early stages. This is of particular relevance to French cancer researchers in Strasbourg. But the method is also suitable for making DNA analyses of small pieces of plant and animal tissue, for example to establish which plant genes are responsible for resistance to a fungus. The main benefit is that this has now been simplified. The Wageningen and French researchers have applied for a patent on the method.