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Sensors are devices that respond to physical or chemical stimuli and produce detectable signals. They are a critical extension of human perception of the world in many aspects of the modern society. This is largely because we are much less sensitive to the chemical or biological environment than to the physical environment (e.g., light, pressure, temperature, or humidity). However, appropriate chemical or biological compositions are tightly linked to the quality of life. For example, molecule and ion concentrations inside a human body (i.e., metabolites, metal ions, hormones, and proteins) reflect the person’s health, while chemicals in the environment (i.e., heavy metals, explosives, and toxins) can affect human health. Therefore, the development of highly sensitive and selective sensors to recognize important analytes has long been a focus of research for many areas including environmental monitoring, industrial quality control, and medical diagnostics.
A sensor contains at least two components: target recognition and signal transduction. The target recognition element can be any chemical or biological entity such as small organic molecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, or even whole cells. Ideally, this element should have high affinity (low detection limit), high specificity (low interference), wide dynamic range, fast response time, long shelf life, and good generality for detecting a broad range of analytes with the same class of recognition element. Antibodies are protein-based binding molecules that have long been used for target recognition because they meet most of the above criteria. Signal transduction elements are responsible for converting molecular recognition events of into physically detectable signals such as fluorescence, color, electrochemical signals, or magnetic resonance changes.
As the nucleic acid equivalent of antibodies, aptamers possess a number of competitive advantages over antibodies for sensing applications. First, because aptamers are isolated in vitro, they can be selected to bind essentially any target of choice. Antibodies, on the other hand, cannot be obtained for molecules too small to have enough binding repertoires (e.g., Mg2+ or Pb2+ that is not associated with any chelators), or molecules with poor immunogenicity or high toxicity. It is difficult to review all existing aptamers here, given that over one hundred aptamers were isolated for protein targets by NeXstar Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the University of Colorado alone by 1999. The number of aptamers isolated by scientists throughout the world is much greater than that. Ellington and co-workers have created an online searchable aptamer database where more detailed information can be found. shows a list of literature reported DNA aptamer targets, which demonstrate that aptamers can bind any analytes of choice. There are even more RNA aptamers reported in the literature and they generally have comparable binding performance to DNA aptamers.
OMICS Group International is an amalgamation of Open Access publications and worldwide international science conferences and events. Established in the year 2007 with the sole aim of making the information on Sciences and technology ‘Open Access’, OMICS Group publishes 400 online open access journals in all aspects of Science, Engineering, Management and Technology journals. OMICS Group has been instrumental in taking the knowledge on Science & technology to the doorsteps of ordinary men and women. Research Scholars, Students, Libraries, Educational Institutions, Research centers and the industry are main stakeholders that benefitted greatly from this knowledge dissemination. OMICS Group also organizes 300 International Conferences annually across the globe, where knowledge transfer takes place through debates, round table discussions, poster presentations, workshops, symposia and exhibitions. Moreover, OMICS Group is featured with 30,000 editorial board members, 35,000 reviewer, 1000 international associations and 3 million readers.
Nucleic acid sensors conferences: •4th International Conference on Bio-Sensing Technology •ICNAC 2015 : XIII International Conference on Nucleic Acids Chemistry.
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This page was last updated on 21st Oct, 2014
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