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Microchip electrophoresis has become a powerful tool for DNA separation, offering all of the advantages typically associated with miniaturized techniques: high speed, high resolution, ease of automation, and great versatility for both routine and research applications. Various substrate materials have been used to produce microchips for DNA separations, including conventional (glass, silicon, and quartz) and alternative (polymers) platforms. In this study, we perform DNA separation in a simple and low-cost polyester-toner (PeT)-based electrophoresis microchip. PeT devices were fabricated by a direct-printing process using a 600 dpi-resolution laser printer. DNA separations were performed on PeT chip with channels filled with polymer solutions (0.5% m/v hydroxyethylcellulose or hydroxypropylcellulose) at electric fields ranging from 100 to 300 V cm(-1). Separation of DNA fragments between 100 and 1000 bp, with good correlation of the size of DNA fragments and mobility, was achieved in this system. Although the mobility increased with increasing electric field, separations showed the same profile regardless of the electric field. The system provided good separation efficiency (215,000 plates per m for the 500 bp fragment) and the separation was completed in 4 min for 1000 bp fragment ladder. The cost of a given chip is approximately $0.15 and it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare a single device.


Gabriela R M Duarte, Wendell K T Coltro, Juliane C Borba, Carol W Price, James P Landers, Emanuel Carrilho. Disposable polyester-toner electrophoresis microchips for DNA analysis. The Analyst. 2012 Jun 7;137(11):2692-8

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PMID: 22545263

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