A Cost-effective Ccd DNA Sequence Reader

Period of Performance: 07/01/1988 - 06/30/1989


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Western Research Company, Inc.
3275 W. Ina Road, Suite 215
Tucson, AZ 85741
Principal Investigator


The goal of this program is to develop and ultimately commercialize a functional, low cost DNA sequence reader for use in rapidly expanding DNA sequencing applications in university, private and industrial research laboratories. The DNA sequence reader will use a unique optical system to reformat the long, narrow DNA sequence image into a very efficient square format well suited for digitization using a two dimensional charge coupled device (CCD) array. The sequence reader will, therefore, be very fast, requiring only 0.03 seconds to digitize the entire autoradiogram at high resolution. Further, because the sequence reader can utilize two dimensional, rather than one dimensional, data arrays, it has the capacity of greater precision and greater reliability than has previously been possible. This capacity will make possible high speed, high reliability DNA sequencing, even for operators unskilled in the interpretation of DNA sequencing gels. This will promote and ease the use of a basic research technique that has become critical to the development of new vaccines, peptide hormones and many other medically relevant biological molecules. The approach is to build a refined DNA sequence reader, based on the exciting results of the Phase I effort, and to test and evaluate it both in-house and at an alpha test site. Because this project has already led to an innovative technical solution to the basic problem of optimizing gel image presentation to high speed 2D solid state imaging arrays, we are confident that it has considerable commercial potential.