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Scientists discuss new frontiers in single-molecule research at American Chemical Society

A polymerase, pauses at each base's location.

"This process is unique because it uses the motion of RNA polymerase, not chemistry, to sequence DNA," Block said. Motion-based sequencing may prove commercially viable one day, he added, noting that Stanford is planning to license the technique.

"Studying individual molecules allows you to discover how each one differs," Block noted. "They're not all exactly the same, the way all hydrogen atoms are the same. Biomolecules have character and subtle differences that we don't fully understand. A lot of diseases are due to genetic defects that cause aberrant behavior in molecules. We'd like to learn what those aberrant behaviors are--how do they work and how do they fail to work? To answer those questions, we now have these new tools with astonishing precision--the single-molecule methods that allow us to ask new questions about molecular mechanisms."

Block will discuss his current research at the Stanford Photonics Research Center symposium at 9:15 a.m. PDT Tuesday, Sept. 19, in Stanford's Fairchild Auditorium.


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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
12-Sep-2006


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