Automated Microchip DNA Analysis System

Period of Performance: 09/15/1998 - 08/31/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Molecular Dynamics, Inc.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Principal Investigator


This project will develop an Automated DNA Analysis Microchip System that will load, run, and detect DNA samples in microchannels on microchips. The system will be applied to analyze single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genotype fragments, and read DNA sequences, all at very high throughput rates. The system will consist of microchips and a robotic instrument currently under development. In a typical application, the instrument will transfer samples from microtiter plates to sample loading ports on the microchips. The loaded microchips will be moved to dock with electrodes under a detector. The samples will them be injected into separation microchannels and electrophoresed past a detector where the fluorescence is measured. The microchips will contain microchannels for both sample injection and separation. In Phase I, we plan to characterize the existing prototype and extend its functionality. We will design and build microchips with up to 48 channels for DNA sequencing. The system will be tested with M13 controls and with panels of test real-world sequencing samples, including M13 clones, plasmids, and PCR fragments. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The project will develop a very high throughput DNA analysis system for DNA sequencing and genotyping using a microchip-based format. This system will have widespread applications in biomedical research,, basic research and in applied areas such as DNA diagnostics, forensics, animal and plant typing, and human identification. The customers will be genome centers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, and diagnostic laboratories.