Scientists at the University of Melbourne, the Australian Synchrotron and La Trobe University discovered that graphene can distinguish the four nucleobases that make up DNA and potentially be used to sequence DNA without the need for labels.

The researchers found that each nucleobase influenced the electronic structure of graphene in a measurably different way. When used together with a nanopore, a single DNA molecule would pass through the graphene-based electrical sensor enabling real-time, high-throughput sequencing of a single DNA molecule. The use of graphene to electrically sequence DNA promises to improve the speed, throughput, reliability and accuracy whilst reducing the price compared to current techniques.

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