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A Journal on Biotechnology and Molecular Biology
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,246
Minerva Biotecnologica 2004 December;16(4):281-8
Semiconductor nanocrystal probes for human chromosomes and DNA
Xiao Y., Barker P. E.
DNA Technologies Group, Biotechnology Division, CSTL, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
Quantum dots (semiconductor nanocrystals) offer advantages for bioimaging, especially as biological tags for clinical tests involving fluorescence microscopy. Biological imaging has traditionally relied on radioisotopes and organic fluorophores for detection of proteins, RNA and DNA sequences. Although quantitative, radioisotopes raise biohazard and disposal concerns. Organic fluorophores have been an alternative for visual detection with fluorescence microscopy, but photobleaching has compromised quantitation and preservation of primary assay signals. New inorganic fluorophores called quantum dots (semiconductor nanocrystals) have recently offered detection technology alternative to organic fluorophores. Luminescent quantum dots have successfully tracked biomolecules and cells, despite limitations in current linking chemistry. As nanocrystal chemistry evolves, recently suggested theoretical applications have been realized. Here we summarize the properties and application of nanocrystal fluorophores to bioimaging, and focus on early results bearing on medical genetics. We identify where improvements in nanocrystal adaptors and performance will greatly expand the repertoire of clinical and research assays that might benefit from these interesting new nanomaterials.