A nifty paper in yesterday's online edition of PNAS could presage the future of microfluidics development -- not to mention of sequencing technology. linkurl:Richard Mathies;http://chem.berkeley.edu/people/faculty/mathies/mathies.html of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues linkurl:report;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0602476103 the development of an integrated chip capable of performing the complete Sanger sequencing protocol, from template to gel. Lab-on-a-chip, or microfluidic devices, have been long been heralded as the future of life science research. We linkurl:profiled;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15690/ the technology last year in our feature on "linkurl:Seven technologies;http://www.the-scientist.com/2005/8/29/ that are transforming the life sciences." Most existing microfluidic chips have been fairly rudimentary affairs, however, tackling such "low-hanging fruit" as simple electrophoretic separations and sample cleanup, for instance. It's actually been possible to run sequencing separations themselves on microfluidic platforms for at least a decade. But that was using reactions that were performed off-line. With this latest development, that step has now been integrated onto the chip. From 1...

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