Navigation Links
Automated microfluidic device reduces time to screen small organisms for genetic studies
Date:6/23/2008

Genetic studies on small organisms such as worms and flies can now be done more quickly using a new microfluidic device developed by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The new "lab-on-a-chip" can automatically position, image, determine the phenotype of and sort small animals, such as the worm Caenorhabditis elegans that is commonly used for biological studies.

"Classical genetic approaches require altering genetic information and monitoring changes in a large number of animals, which can be excruciatingly slow and often requires manual manipulations," said Hang Lu, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. "As researchers move from studying single genes to analyzing interactions and networks, studies that require large sample sizes will be critical and this device allows for consistent and reliable operation to rapidly screen many animals."

In the July print issue of the journal Nature Methods, available online June 22, Lu and graduate students Kwanghun Chung and Matthew Crane describe their automated microsystem and initial experimental results. The results show that they can sort small organisms without human intervention based on cellular and subcellular features, or traits, with a high degree of accuracy at a rate of several hundred animals per hour. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Using the microfluidic system is simple. Each small animal is automatically loaded into the microchip. The setup automatically arranges each organism in an identical position in the chip to reduce the processing time and increase throughput.

Once the organism is loaded, it is briefly immobilized by an integrated local temperature control system that cools the animal to approximate four degrees Celsius. Cooling effectively stops the animal's motion and allows repeated imaging of the same organisms because unlike commonly-used anesthetic drugs, the cooling doesn't have long-term effects.

After cooling, the system uses a high-resolution microscope to acquire multi-dimensional images of the animal on-chip.

"The advantage of using our microchip is that it's completely compatible with any standard microscope you'd find in a biology laboratory epifluorescence, stereo, multi-photon or confocal with no modification required," explained Lu.

The researchers have shown that the intensity and patterns of fluorescent markers imaged inside cooled animals versus those in anesthetized animals exhibit no discernible differences. Based on each animal's phenotype, or how each animal looks under the microscope, the computer identifies whether it is wild-type or mutant and sorts it into the appropriate group.

Initial tests to assess the system were conducted on C. elegans, one of the tiniest multi-cellular organisms that share many fundamental cellular/molecular mechanisms with more advanced organisms. However, the automated system can also be adapted to study other small organisms such as fruit flies and fish embryos.

For one experiment, Lu and her team tested the ability of the system to analyze the gene expression pattern the intensity, location and timing of appearance of a fluorescent protein in a population of organisms. They were able to sort the free-moving animals into two categories, those fluorescing in a particle neuron and those that are not, at a speed of approximately 900 animals per hour. More than 90 percent of the animals were loaded into the observation chamber within 0.3 seconds after the previous animal exited.

In another experiment, the researchers were successful in separating a small number of mutant animals from a large population of wild-type animals based on the fluorescence in a single pair of neurons. With on-line processing and decision-making without human supervision, the system achieved a sorting speed of approximately 150 animals per hour and a false negative rate of less than 0.2 percent, indicating that almost all the mutants were captured by the system.

A third experiment was aimed at demonstrating the ability of the system to screen organisms based on micro-sized synaptic features of the animals. Results showed that the system was able to sort mixed populations at a rate of approximately 400 animals per hour for this application. In all three experiments, it would have taken researchers much longer to identify the worms manually with high-resolution microscopy a few worms at a time.

"This is the first automated device to combine high-resolution imaging with automated sorting of the worms." added Lu. "Now that we have the automated system, we are able to perform genetic screens a lot faster than what has traditionally been done and speed up the discovery of new genes, new functions and new pathways."


'/>"/>

Contact: Abby Vogel
avogel@gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. San Diego Harbor Police Deploy BIO-key(R) Automated Vehicle Location System
2. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
3. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
4. Does fishing on drifting fish aggregation devices endanger the survival of tropical tuna?
5. New Silex SX-560 Enables Enterprise 802.11 Wireless Connectivity for Battery Operated Devices
6. Scientists test device to track medication adherence in patients with HIV/AIDS
7. Needle-size device created to track tumors, radiation dose
8. Childrens Hospital leads projects to develop nations first heart assist devices for young children
9. Biosensing nanodevice to revolutionize health screenings
10. Analysis calls for medical device information to better serve patients and doctors
11. Portable device quickly detects early Alzheimers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Automated microfluidic device reduces time to screen small organisms for genetic studies
(Date:2/6/2017)... DENVER , Feb. 6, 2017 ... national security are driving border authorities to continue ... Acuity reports there are 2143 Automated Border Control ... Kiosks currently deployed at more than 163 ports ... between 2013 to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017   TapImmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... in the development of innovative peptide and gene-based ... and metastatic disease, announced today it has successfully ... a second clinical lot of TPIV 200, the ... The manufactured vaccine product will be used to ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... Massachusetts , February 1, 2017 IDTechEx ... events on emerging technology, announces the availability of a new report, ... Continue Reading ... ... in industrial and collaborative robots. Source: IDTechEx Report "Sensors for Robotics: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Champions Oncology, Inc. ... the development and sale of advanced technology solutions and ... drugs, today announced the addition of new cohorts of ... These new models will expand Champions, product line in ... and neck cancer, AML, and non-small cell lung cancer ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 16, 2017 ... $7M Series B financing, adding an additional $3M from ... by Mesa Verde Venture Partners and other strategic partners ... directed towards further accelerating commercial adoption of their flagship ... test and expanding the Paradigm cancer registry. ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... , 15. Februar 2017  Trianni, Inc. ... Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) eine Lizenzvereinbarung über die Verwendung ... Klasse führenden Plattform für die Entdeckung monoklonaler Antikörper. ... ihr neuartiges chimäres Gensegmentdesign aus, das Janssen ... humanen Antikörpern bietet und das für die schelle ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... 15, 2017 Windtree Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... aerosolized KL4 surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, will host ... at 8:00 AM EST on Thursday, February 16, 2017 ... program, the recently announced closing of a $10.5 million ... To participate in the live call and take ...
Breaking Biology Technology: