RUDN University student makes an equivalent instrument for DNA analysis
What information do your genes convey about your sports capabilities? How can we know that the tomatoes in our salad don’t contain GMOs? The technology that can answer these questions exists for more than 20 years. Nevertheless, such instruments cost thousands of dollars and they are not available for students, biohackers and for people, who live in countries where such technologies are not developed. That is why there is a need for an instrument that can be accessible and understandable for everybody and every person will be able to assemble and disassemble the tool.
Andrew Kosinets, a student of RUDN University Medical Institute, has decided to make an available tool for genetic analyses by himself. He says that this is much easier than we can imagine!
The work on this project started when a professor of the Department of Biology RUDN University, while explaining the topic, showed students an industrial amplifier or thermocycler. The industrial amplifier is an instrument small in size, which is necessary for the analysis of genes, diagnosis of diseases and paternity testing. It is necessary to detect the unique segment of DNA where genetic information or infection is contained. Usually such segment is small and hard to examine. That is why the segment of DNA is copied repeatedly with the help of special enzymes (amplification occurs). This process is called a polymerase chain reaction. The procedure takes place at alternating heating and cooling and for such purposes thermocycler is needed. As the result we get billions accurate copies of the same DNA. Then specialists can interpret acquired results and detect the infection or compare the DNA of a child and a father.
Andrew was really surprised by the high cost of this device and decided to assemble something similar by himself. The ultimate objective was the development of technologies, allowing to make the production of thermocyclers cheaper.
Agro-technological and Medical Institutes of RUDN University, “Academia” Centre for Youth Innovation Creativity in Moscow and students from other universities support Andrew.
Such electronic components as boards, wires and power adapters are necessary for the construction of the device. Project participants bought electronic components in specialized shops and made some printed boards by themselves. First they designed device housing on the computer, then printed it on 3D printer and assembled all parts of the appliance. The last step of thermocycler’s construction is writing software for the computer and firmware for the device.
“I can say that this is much easier than you can imagine. A person can learn to develop printed boards and electronic devices in 2-3 months”, - Andrew states.
Andrew plans to use the device in open sources, where every person can see blueprints and patterns of the thermocycler, learn about necessary details and assemble the same thing independently or buy it at a reasonable price.
«I would be happy to repeat the success of another project – hundreds of people supported the idea of the construction of thermocycler for the open public platform in the USA».
Every person sees life differently. People have different views, tastes and perceptions. Nevertheless, RUDN University students are united by a common aim – create something new, that is useful for people and make this world better.
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