Scientists at the UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have invented a new way to synthesize DNA that promises to be easier and faster, does not require the use of toxic chemicals and is potentially more accurate.
With greater accuracy, the technique could produce DNA strands 10 times longer than today’s methods.
The researchers say the ease of use could lead to ubiquitous “DNA printers” in research labs, akin to the 3D printers in many workshops today.
“If you’re a mechanical engineer, it’s really nice to have a 3D printer in your shop that can print out a part overnight so you can test it the next morning,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Dan Arlow. “If you’re a researcher or bioengineer and you have an instrument that streamlines DNA synthesis, a ‘DNA printer,’ you can test your ideas faster and try out more new ideas. I think it will lead to a lot of innovation.”
“We believe that increased access to DNA constructs will speed up the development of new cures for diseases and simplify the production of new medicines,” Palluk said.