This post originally appeared on PRNewswire on May 25th
Experiment ushers in biotech era aboard International Space Station
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — miniPCR™ announced the first successful DNA amplification on the International Space Station (ISS). Using a miniPCR thermal cycler, astronauts performed Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on DNA samples on April 19th. Analysis performed today on Earth confirms that DNA amplification done in microgravity was successful, ushering in a new era in space exploration.
PCR is routinely performed in research laboratories and hospitals for the detection of viruses or bacteria, diagnosis of genetic disorders, assessment of gene expression, and genetic engineering. During PCR, genetic sequences in study are copied millions of times so that DNA can be detected and analyzed.
The miniPCR thermal cycler is the latest addition to the growing genomics capabilities of the ISS. miniPCR has a small footprint, operates using minimal power requirements, and can process eight samples simultaneously. PCR technology can be applied in space to assess microbial growth, monitor living conditions, and protect crewmembers’ lives.
“This finding will broaden the speed and scope of biological analyses available in microgravity. Deep space exploration would be unimaginable without DNA testing capabilities,” said Ezequiel (Zeke) Alvarez-Saavedra, Ph.D., Cofounder.
The space DNA samples were analyzed via gel electrophoresis, a process that separates DNA fragments by size, using miniPCR’s blueGel™ electrophoresis system.
miniPCR is a Cambridge-based company that reinvents lab technology to enable everyone to experiment at the cutting edge of biology. miniPCR tools enable DNA experimentation for laboratory professionals, field scientists, in homes and in classrooms – and now for space explorers.
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