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RainDance has created a unique and patented way to put reagents inside of picoliter-sized droplets to encapsulate biology one droplet at a time. Currently, single nucleic acids are placed inside of the droplets. This creates a single-plex PCR reaction inside of each droplet. Droplets can be generated using one of RainDance’s commercial instrument systems at up to 10,000 per second.
It all begins with a specific volume of starting material such as 10, 25 or 50uL of genomic DNA depending on the application. The sample is then partitioned into millions of individual droplets. These partitions contain genomic DNA sample and are then merged with a second droplet containing reagent to form a new single droplet which allows for a single reaction in an individual droplet to take place. This is carried out across millions of droplets for each biological sample on a microfluidic chip.
The droplets are being used with single molecules of nucleic acids in research applications that include content enrichment for Next-Generation Sequencing and Digital PCR. We are also investigating the development of applications that would allow for the use of single cells, single proteins and cell sorting.
Droplets allow scientists to research biological samples in incredible detail. The droplets are highly uniform and precise, providing the capability to see as low as 5% minor allele frequency in targeted sequencing. Similarly, in Digital PCR, the millions of droplet reactions combined with precision and uniformity enable the detection of 1 mutant DNA in the background of 1 million wild-type DNA.
The level of detail and sensitivity that can be gathered about that sample is allowing researchers to obtain new biological answers and make discoveries that simply could not be done before.
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