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Digital polymerase chain reaction

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Digital polymerase chain reaction (digital PCR, DigitalPCR, dPCR, or dePCR) is a biotechnological refinement of conventional polymerase chain reaction methods that can be used to directly quantify and clonally amplify nucleic acids strands including DNA, cDNA, or RNA. The key difference between dPCR and traditional PCR lies in the method of measuring nucleic acids amounts, with the former being a more precise method than PCR, though also more prone to error in the hands of inexperienced users.[1] A "digital" measurement quantitatively and discretely measures a certain variable, whereas an “analog” measurement extrapolates certain measurements based on measured patterns. PCR carries out one reaction per single sample. dPCR also carries out a single reaction within a sample, however the sample is separated into a large number of partitions and the reaction is carried out in each partition individually. This separation allows a more reliable collection and sensitive measurement of nucleic acid amounts. The method has been demonstrated as useful for studying variations in gene sequences — such as copy number variants and point mutations — and it is routinely used for clonal amplification of samples for next-generation sequencing.

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Biotechnology

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is the integration of natural sciences and engineering sciences in order to achieve the application of organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services. The term biotechnology was first used by Károly Ereky in 1919, meaning the production of products from raw materials with the aid of living organisms.

Polymerase chain reaction

Polymerase chain reaction

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. PCR was invented in 1983 by the American biochemist Kary Mullis at Cetus Corporation; Mullis and biochemist Michael Smith, who had developed other essential ways of manipulating DNA, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.

DNA

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a polymer composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix. The polymer carries genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids. Alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.

RNA

RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes. RNA and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are nucleic acids. Along with lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates, nucleic acids constitute one of the four major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life. Like DNA, RNA is assembled as a chain of nucleotides, but unlike DNA, RNA is found in nature as a single strand folded onto itself, rather than a paired double strand. Cellular organisms use messenger RNA (mRNA) to convey genetic information that directs synthesis of specific proteins. Many viruses encode their genetic information using an RNA genome.

Principles

The polymerase chain reaction method is used to quantify nucleic acids by amplifying a nucleic acid molecule with the enzyme DNA polymerase.[2] Conventional PCR is based on the theory that amplification is exponential. Therefore, nucleic acids may be quantified by comparing the number of amplification cycles and amount of PCR end-product to those of a reference sample. However, many factors complicate this calculation, creating uncertainties and inaccuracies. These factors include the following: initial amplification cycles may not be exponential; PCR amplification eventually plateaus after an uncertain number of cycles; and low initial concentrations of target nucleic acid molecules may not amplify to detectable levels. However, the most significant limitation of PCR is that PCR amplification efficiency in a sample of interest may be different from that of reference samples.

Figure 1. Oil droplets containing fluorescent PCR target molecule
Figure 1. Oil droplets containing fluorescent PCR target molecule
Figure 2. Fraction of positive droplets predict number of target copies per droplet modeled by the Poisson distribution
Figure 2. Fraction of positive droplets predict number of target copies per droplet modeled by the Poisson distribution

Instead of performing one reaction per well, dPCR involves partitioning the PCR solution into tens of thousands of nano-liter sized droplets, where a separate PCR reaction takes place in each one.[3][4] A PCR solution is made similarly to a TaqMan assay, which consists of template DNA (or RNA), fluorescence-quencher probes, primers, and a PCR master mix, which contains DNA polymerase, dNTPs, MgCl2, and reaction buffers at optimal concentrations. Several different methods can be used to partition samples, including microwell plates, capillaries, oil emulsion, and arrays of miniaturized chambers with nucleic acid binding surfaces.[5] The PCR solution is divided into smaller reactions and are then made to run PCR individually. After multiple PCR amplification cycles, the samples are checked for fluorescence with a binary readout of “0” or “1”. The fraction of fluorescing droplets is recorded.[4] The partitioning of the sample allows one to estimate the number of different molecules by assuming that the molecule population follows the Poisson distribution, thus accounting for the possibility of multiple target molecules inhabiting a single droplet. Using Poisson's law of small numbers, the distribution of target molecule within the sample can be accurately approximated allowing for a quantification of the target strand in the PCR product.[6] This model simply predicts that as the number of samples containing at least one target molecule increases, the probability of the samples containing more than one target molecule increases.[7] In conventional PCR, the number of PCR amplification cycles is proportional to the starting copy number. Different from many people's belief that dPCR provides absolute quantification, digital PCR uses statistical power to provide relative quantification. For example, if Sample A, when assayed in 1 million partitions, gives one positive reaction, it does not mean that the Sample A has one starting molecule.

The benefits of dPCR include increased precision through massive sample partitioning, which ensures reliable measurements in the desired DNA sequence due to reproducibility.[4] Error rates are larger when detecting small-fold change differences with basic PCR, while error rates are smaller with dPCR due to the smaller-fold change differences that can be detected in DNA sequence. The technique itself reduces the use of a larger volume of reagent needed, which inevitably will lower experiment cost. Also, dPCR is highly quantitative as it does not rely on relative fluorescence of the solution to determine the amount of amplified target DNA.

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Polymerase chain reaction

Polymerase chain reaction

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. PCR was invented in 1983 by the American biochemist Kary Mullis at Cetus Corporation; Mullis and biochemist Michael Smith, who had developed other essential ways of manipulating DNA, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.

DNA polymerase

DNA polymerase

A DNA polymerase is a member of a family of enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of DNA molecules from nucleoside triphosphates, the molecular precursors of DNA. These enzymes are essential for DNA replication and usually work in groups to create two identical DNA duplexes from a single original DNA duplex. During this process, DNA polymerase "reads" the existing DNA strands to create two new strands that match the existing ones. These enzymes catalyze the chemical reactiondeoxynucleoside triphosphate + DNAn ⇌ pyrophosphate + DNAn+1.

TaqMan

TaqMan

TaqMan probes are hydrolysis probes that are designed to increase the specificity of quantitative PCR. The method was first reported in 1991 by researcher Kary Mullis at Cetus Corporation, and the technology was subsequently developed by Hoffmann-La Roche for diagnostic assays and by Applied Biosystems for research applications.

Master mix (PCR)

Master mix (PCR)

A master mix is a mixture containing precursors and enzymes used as an ingredient in RT-PCR techniques in molecular biology. Such mixtures contain a mixture dNTPs (required as a substrate for the building of new DNA strands), MgCl2, Taq polymerase (an enzyme required to building new DNA strands), a pH buffer and come mixed in nuclease-free water.

Nucleoside triphosphate

Nucleoside triphosphate

A nucleoside triphosphate is a nucleotide containing a nitrogenous base bound to a 5-carbon sugar, with three phosphate groups bound to the sugar. They are the molecular precursors of both DNA and RNA, which are chains of nucleotides made through the processes of DNA replication and transcription. Nucleoside triphosphates also serve as a source of energy for cellular reactions and are involved in signalling pathways.

Poisson distribution

Poisson distribution

In probability theory and statistics, the Poisson distribution is a discrete probability distribution that expresses the probability of a given number of events occurring in a fixed interval of time or space if these events occur with a known constant mean rate and independently of the time since the last event. It is named after French mathematician Siméon Denis Poisson. The Poisson distribution can also be used for the number of events in other specified interval types such as distance, area, or volume.

Comparison between dPCR and Real-Time PCR (qPCR)

dPCR measures the actual number of molecules (target DNA) as each molecule is in one droplet, thus making it a discrete “digital” measurement. It provides absolute quantification because dPCR measures the positive fraction of samples, which is the number of droplets that are fluorescing due to proper amplification. This positive fraction accurately indicates the initial amount of template nucleic acid. Similarly, qPCR utilizes fluorescence; however, it measures the intensity of fluorescence at specific times (generally after every amplification cycle) to determine the relative amount of target molecule (DNA), but cannot specify the exact amount without constructing a standard curve using different amounts of a defined standard. It gives the threshold per cycle (CT) and the difference in CT is used to calculate the amount of initial nucleic acid. As such, qPCR is an analog measurement, which may not be as precise due to the extrapolation required to attain a measurement.[5][8]

dPCR measures the amount of DNA after amplification is complete and then determines the fraction of replicates. This is representative of an endpoint measurement as it requires the observation of the data after the experiment is completed. In contrast, qPCR records the relative fluorescence of the DNA at specific points during the amplification process, which requires stops in the experimental process. This “real-time” aspect of qPCR may theoretically affect results due to the stopping of the experiment. In practice, however, most qPCR thermal cyclers read each sample's fluorescence very quickly at the end of the annealing/extension step before proceeding to the next melting step, meaning this hypothetical concern is not actually relevant or applicable for the vast majority of researchers. dPCR measures the amplification by measuring the products of end point PCR cycling and is therefore less susceptible to the artifacts arising from impaired amplification efficiencies due to the presence of PCR inhibitors or primer template mismatch.[9][10]

qPCR is unable to distinguish differences in gene expression or copy number variations that are smaller than twofold. On the other hand, dPCR has a higher precision and has been shown to detect differences of less than 30% in gene expression, distinguish between copy number variations that differ by only 1 copy, and identify alleles that occur at frequencies less than 0.1%.[11][4]

Applications

Digital PCR has many applications in basic research, clinical diagnostics and environmental testing. Its uses include pathogen detection and digestive health analysis;[12][13] liquid biopsy for cancer monitoring, organ transplant rejection monitoring and non-invasive prenatal testing for serious genetic abnormalities;[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] copy number variation analysis,[22][23][24] single gene expression analysis,[25] rare sequence detection,[21][26][27] gene expression profiling and single-cell analysis;[28][29][27][30][31][32][33] the detection of DNA contaminants in bioprocessing,[34] the validation of gene edits and detection of specific methylation changes in DNA as biomarkers of cancer.[35][35][36][37] dPCR is also frequently used as an orthogonal method to confirm rare mutations detected through next-generation sequencing (NGS) and to validate NGS libraries.[38][39][40]

Absolute quantification

dPCR enables the absolute and reproducible quantification of target nucleic acids at single-molecule resolution.[27][41][42][43] Unlike analogue quantitative PCR (qPCR), however, absolute quantification with dPCR does not require a standard curve).[41] dPCR also has a greater tolerance for inhibitor substances and PCR assays that amplify inefficiently as compared to qPCR.[44][10]

dPCR can quantify, for example, the presence of specific sequences from contaminating genetically modified organisms in foodstuffs,[45] viral load in the blood,[46] PBMCs,[47][48] serum samples,[49] chorionic villi tissues,[47][48] biomarkers of neurodegenerative disease in cerebral spinal fluid,[50] and fecal contamination in drinking water.[51]

Copy number variation

An alteration in copy number state with respect to a single-copy reference locus is referred to as a “copy number variation” (CNV) if it appears in germline cells, or a copy number alteration (CNA) if it appears in somatic cells.[52] A CNV or CNA could be due to a deletion or amplification of a locus with respect to the number of copies of the reference locus present in the cell, and together, they are major contributors to variability in the human genome.[53][54][55] They have been associated with cancers;[56][57][58] neurological,[59] psychiatric,[60][61] and autoimmune diseases;[62] and adverse drug reactions.[63] However, it is difficult to measure these allelic variations with high precision using other methods such as qPCR, thus making phenotypic and disease associations with altered CNV status challenging.[64][65]

The large number of “digitized,” endpoint measurements made possible by sample partitioning enables dPCR to resolve small differences in copy number with better accuracy and precision when compared to other methods such as SNP-based microarrays[66] or qPCR.[67][68] qPCR is limited in its ability to precisely quantify gene amplifications in several diseases, including Crohn’s disease, HIV-1 infection, and obesity.[69][65][68]

dPCR was designed to measure the concentration of a nucleic acid target in copies per unit volume of the sample. When operating in dilute reactions where less than ~10% of the partitions contain a desired target (referred to as “limiting dilution”), copy number can be estimated by comparing the number of fluorescent droplets arising from a target CNV with the number of fluorescent droplets arising from an invariant single-copy reference locus.[22] In fact, both at these lower target concentrations and at higher ones where multiple copies of the same target can co-localize to a single partition, Poisson statistics are used to correct for these multiple occupancies to give a more accurate value for each target’s concentration.[70][5]

Digital PCR has been used to uncover both germline and somatic variation in gene copy number between humans[71] and to study the link between amplification of HER2 (ERBB2) and breast cancer progression.[72][73][74][24]

Rare mutation and rare allele detection

Partitioning in digital PCR increases sensitivity and allows for detection of rare events, especially single nucleotide variants (SNVs), by isolating or greatly diminishing the target biomarker signal from potentially competing background.[8][5] These events can be organized into two classes: rare mutation detection and rare sequence detection.

Rare mutation detection

Rare mutation detection occurs when a biomarker exists within a background of a highly abundant counterpart that differs by only a single nucleotide variant (SNV). Digital PCR has been shown to be capable of detecting mutant DNA in the presence of a 200,000-fold excess of wild type background, which is 2,000 times more sensitive than achievable with conventional qPCR.[8]

Rare sequence detection

Digital PCR can detect rare sequences such as HIV DNA in patients with HIV,[21] and DNA from fecal bacteria in ocean and other water samples for assessing water quality.[75] dPCR can detect sequences as rare as 1 in every 1,250,000 cells.[21]

Liquid biopsy

dPCR’s ability to detect rare mutations may be of particular benefit in the clinic through the use of the liquid biopsy, a generally noninvasive strategy for detecting and monitoring disease via bodily fluids.[14][76] Researchers have used liquid biopsy to monitor tumor load, treatment response and disease progression in cancer patients by measuring rare mutations in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in a variety of biological fluids from patients including blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid.[14][77][78] Early detection of ctDNA (as in molecular relapse) may lead to earlier administration of an immunotherapy or a targeted therapy specific for the patient’s mutation signature, potentially improving chances of the treatment’s effectiveness rather than waiting for clinical relapse before altering treatment. Liquid biopsies can have turnaround times of a few days, compared to two to four weeks or longer for tissue-based tests.[79][80] This reduced time to results has been used by physicians to expedite treatments tailored to biopsy data.[79]

In 2016, a prospective trial using dPCR at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute authenticated the clinical benefit of liquid biopsy as a predictive diagnostic tool for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.[81] The application of liquid biopsy tests have also been studied in patients with breast,[82] colorectal,[83][84] gynecologic,[85] and bladder cancers[77][86] to monitor both the disease load and the tumor’s response to treatment.

Gene expression and RNA quantification

Gene expression and RNA quantification studies have benefited from the increased precision and absolute quantification of dPCR.[87] RNA quantification can be accomplished via RT-PCR, wherein RNA is reverse-transcribed into cDNA in the partitioned reaction itself, and the number of RNA molecules originating from each transcript (or allelic transcript) is quantified via dPCR.[28]

One can often achieve greater sensitivity and precision by using dPCR rather than qPCR to quantify RNA molecules in part because it does not require use of a standard curve for quantification.[88] dPCR is also more resilient to PCR inhibitors for the quantification of RNA than qPCR.[44][13][87]

dPCR can detect and quantify more individual target species per detection channel than qPCR by virtue of being able to distinguish targets based on their differential fluorescence amplitude or by the use of distinctive color combinations for their detection.[89][87] As an example of this, a 2-channel dPCR system has been used to detect in a single well the expression of four different splice variants of human telomerase reverse transcriptase, a protein that is more active in most tumor cells than in healthy cells.[90]

Alternative uses for partitioning

Using the dynamic partitioning capabilities employed in dPCR, improved NGS sequencing can be achieved by partitioning of complex PCR reactions prior to amplification to give more uniform amplification across many distinct amplicons for NGS analysis.[91][92] Additionally, the improved specificity of complex PCR amplification reactions in droplets has been shown to greatly reduce the number of iterations required to select for high affinity aptamers in the SELEX method.[93] Partitioning can also allow for more robust measurements of telomerase activity from cell lysates.[94][95] dPCR’s dynamic partitioning capabilities can also be used to partition thousands of nuclei or whole cells into individual droplets to facilitate library preparation for a single cell assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (scATAC-seq).[96]

Droplet digital PCR

Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) is a method of dPCR in which a 20 microliter sample reaction including assay primers and either Taqman probes or an intercalating dye, is divided into ~20,000 nanoliter-sized oil droplets through a water-oil emulsion technique, thermocycled to endpoint in a 96-well PCR plate, and fluorescence amplitude read for all droplets in each sample well in a droplet flow cytometer.[97]

Chip-based digital PCR

Chip-based Digital PCR (dPCR) is also a method of dPCR in which the reaction mix (also when used in qPCR) is divided into ~10,000 to ~45,000 partitions on a chip, then amplified using an endpoint PCR thermocycling machine, and is read using a high-powered camera reader with fluorescence filter (HEX, FAM, Cy5, Cy5.5 and Texas Red) for all partitions on each chip.[98]

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Basic research

Basic research

Basic research, also called pure research or fundamental research, is a type of scientific research with the aim of improving scientific theories for better understanding and prediction of natural or other phenomena. In contrast, applied research uses scientific theories to develop technology or techniques which can be used to intervene and alter natural or other phenomena. Though often driven simply by curiosity, basic research often fuels the technological innovations of applied science. The two aims are often practiced simultaneously in coordinated research and development.

Medical laboratory

Medical laboratory

A medical laboratory or clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are carried out on clinical specimens to obtain information about the health of a patient to aid in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Clinical Medical laboratories are an example of applied science, as opposed to research laboratories that focus on basic science, such as found in some academic institutions.

Liquid biopsy

Liquid biopsy

A liquid biopsy, also known as fluid biopsy or fluid phase biopsy, is the sampling and analysis of non-solid biological tissue, primarily blood. Like traditional biopsy, this type of technique is mainly used as a diagnostic and monitoring tool for diseases such as cancer, with the added benefit of being largely non-invasive. Liquid biopsies may also be used to validate the efficiency of a cancer treatment drug by taking multiple samples in the span of a few weeks. The technology may also prove beneficial for patients after treatment to monitor relapse.

Cancer

Cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.

Copy number variation

Copy number variation

Copy number variation (CNV) is a phenomenon in which sections of the genome are repeated and the number of repeats in the genome varies between individuals. Copy number variation is a type of structural variation: specifically, it is a type of duplication or deletion event that affects a considerable number of base pairs. Approximately two-thirds of the entire human genome may be composed of repeats and 4.8–9.5% of the human genome can be classified as copy number variations. In mammals, copy number variations play an important role in generating necessary variation in the population as well as disease phenotype.

Gene expression profiling

Gene expression profiling

In the field of molecular biology, gene expression profiling is the measurement of the activity of thousands of genes at once, to create a global picture of cellular function. These profiles can, for example, distinguish between cells that are actively dividing, or show how the cells react to a particular treatment. Many experiments of this sort measure an entire genome simultaneously, that is, every gene present in a particular cell.

DNA

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a polymer composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix. The polymer carries genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids. Alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation, is the modification and manipulation of an organism's genes using technology. It is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries to produce improved or novel organisms. New DNA is obtained by either isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesising the DNA. A construct is usually created and used to insert this DNA into the host organism. The first recombinant DNA molecule was made by Paul Berg in 1972 by combining DNA from the monkey virus SV40 with the lambda virus. As well as inserting genes, the process can be used to remove, or "knock out", genes. The new DNA can be inserted randomly, or targeted to a specific part of the genome.

DNA methylation

DNA methylation

DNA methylation is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. When located in a gene promoter, DNA methylation typically acts to repress gene transcription. In mammals, DNA methylation is essential for normal development and is associated with a number of key processes including genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, repression of transposable elements, aging, and carcinogenesis.

Cancer biomarker

Cancer biomarker

A cancer biomarker refers to a substance or process that is indicative of the presence of cancer in the body. A biomarker may be a molecule secreted by a tumor or a specific response of the body to the presence of cancer. Genetic, epigenetic, proteomic, glycomic, and imaging biomarkers can be used for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and epidemiology. Ideally, such biomarkers can be assayed in non-invasively collected biofluids like blood or serum.

Massive parallel sequencing

Massive parallel sequencing

Massive parallel sequencing or massively parallel sequencing is any of several high-throughput approaches to DNA sequencing using the concept of massively parallel processing; it is also called next-generation sequencing (NGS) or second-generation sequencing. Some of these technologies emerged between 1994 and 1998 and have been commercially available since 2005. These technologies use miniaturized and parallelized platforms for sequencing of 1 million to 43 billion short reads per instrument run.

Genomic library

Genomic library

A genomic library is a collection of the total genomic DNA from a single organism. The DNA is stored in a population of identical vectors, each containing a different insert of DNA. In order to construct a genomic library, the organism's DNA is extracted from cells and then digested with a restriction enzyme to cut the DNA into fragments of a specific size. The fragments are then inserted into the vector using DNA ligase. Next, the vector DNA can be taken up by a host organism - commonly a population of Escherichia coli or yeast - with each cell containing only one vector molecule. Using a host cell to carry the vector allows for easy amplification and retrieval of specific clones from the library for analysis.

History

dPCR rose out of an approach first published in 1988 by Cetus Corporation when researchers showed that a single copy of the β-globin gene could be detected and amplified by PCR.[99][100] This was achieved by diluting DNA samples from a normal human cell line with DNA from a mutant line having a homozygous deletion of the β-globin gene, until it was no longer present in the reaction. In 1989, Peter Simmonds, AJ Brown et al. used this concept to quantify a molecule for the first time.[101] Alex Morley and Pamela Sykes formally established the method as a quantitative technique in 1992.[42]

In 1999, Bert Vogelstein and Kenneth Kinzler coined the term “digital PCR” and showed that the technique could be used to find rare cancer mutations.[102] However, dPCR was difficult to perform; it was labor intensive, required a lot of training to do properly, and was difficult to do in large quantities.[102] In 2003, Kinzler and Vogelstein continued to refine dPCR and created an improved method that they called BEAMing technology, an acronym for “beads, emulsion, amplification and magnetics.” The new protocol used emulsion to compartmentalize amplification reactions in a single tube. This change made it possible for scientists to scale the method to thousands of reactions in a single run.[103][104][105]

Companies developing commercial dPCR systems have integrated technologies like automated partitioning of samples, digital counting of nucleic acid targets, and increasing droplet count that can help the process be more efficient.[106][107][108] In recent years, scientists have developed and commercialized dPCR-based diagnostics for several conditions, including non-small cell lung cancer and Down’s Syndrome.[109][110] The first dPCR system for clinical use was CE-marked in 2017 and cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019, for diagnosing chronic myeloid leukemia.[111]

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Cetus Corporation

Cetus Corporation

Cetus Corporation was one of the first biotechnology companies. It was established in Berkeley, California, in 1971, but conducted most of its operations in nearby Emeryville. Before merging with Chiron Corporation in 1991, it developed several significant pharmaceutical drugs as well as a revolutionary DNA amplification technique.

BEAMing

BEAMing

BEAMing, which stands for beads, emulsion, amplification, magnetics, is a highly sensitive digital PCR method that combines emulsion PCR and flow cytometry to identify and quantify specific somatic mutations present in DNA.

Non-small-cell lung carcinoma

Non-small-cell lung carcinoma

Non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is any type of epithelial lung cancer other than small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). NSCLC accounts for about 85% of all lung cancers. As a class, NSCLCs are relatively insensitive to chemotherapy, compared to small-cell carcinoma. When possible, they are primarily treated by surgical resection with curative intent, although chemotherapy has been used increasingly both preoperatively and postoperatively.

Food and Drug Administration

Food and Drug Administration

The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia

Chronic myelogenous leukemia

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), also known as chronic myeloid leukemia, is a cancer of the white blood cells. It is a form of leukemia characterized by the increased and unregulated growth of myeloid cells in the bone marrow and the accumulation of these cells in the blood. CML is a clonal bone marrow stem cell disorder in which a proliferation of mature granulocytes and their precursors is found. It is a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm associated with a characteristic chromosomal translocation called the Philadelphia chromosome.

Source: "Digital polymerase chain reaction", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_polymerase_chain_reaction.

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