The analysis and fractionation of large DNA molecules plays a key role in many genome projects. The standard method, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), is slow, with running times ranging from 10 hours to more than 200 hours. In this report, we describe a thumbnail-sized device that sorts large DNA fragments (61-209 kilobases (kb)) in 15 seconds, with a resolution of -13%. An array of micron-scale posts serves as the sieving matrix, and integrated microfluidic channels spatially shape the electric fields over the matrix. Asymmetric pulsed fields are applied for continuous-flow operation, which sorts DNA molecules in different directions according to their molecular masses, much as a prism deflects light of different wavelengths at different angles. We demonstrate the robustness of the device by using it to separate large DNA inserts prepared from bacterial artificial chromosomes, a widely used DNA source for most genomics projects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering