Electrokinetically synchronized polymerase chain reaction microchip fabricated in polycarbonate

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This paper presents a novel method for DNA thermal amplification using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in an electrokinetically driven synchronized continuous flow PCR (EDS-CF-PCR) configuration carried out in a microfabricated polycarbonate (PC) chip. The synchronized format allowed patterning a shorter length microchannel for the PCR compared to nonsynchronized continuous flow formats, permitting the use of smaller applied voltages when the flow is driven electrically and also allowed flexibility in selecting the cycle number without having to change the microchip architecture. A home-built temperature control system was developed to precisely configure three isothermal zones on the chip for denaturing (95 degrees C), annealing (55 degrees C), and extension (72 degrees C) within a single-loop channel. DNA templates were introduced into the PCR reactor, which was filled with the PCR cocktail, by electrokinetic injection. The PCR cocktail consisted of low salt concentrations (KCl) to reduce the current in the EDS-CF-PCR device during cycling. To control the EOF in the PC microchannel to minimize dilution effects as the DNA "plug" was shuttled through the temperature zones, Polybrene was used as a dynamic coating, which resulted in reversal of the EOF. The products generated from 15, 27, 35, and 40 EDS-CF-PCR amplification cycles were collected and analyzed using microchip electrophoresis with LIF detection for fragment sizing. The results showed that the EDS-CF-PCR format produced results similar to that of a conventional block thermal cycler with leveling effects observed for amplicon generation after approximately 25 cycles. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of electrokinetically driven synchronized PCR performed on chip.

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Analytical chemistry

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