Selective detection of deoxyribonucleic acid at ultralow concentrations by SERRS

D. Graham, W.E. Smith, A.M.T. Linacre, C.H. Munro, N.D. Watson, P.C. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

153 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic research programs such as the human genome project have demonstrated the need for selective detection of nucleic acids at ultralow concentrations (McKusik, V. A. FASEB J. 1991, 5, 12-20, Cui, X.; et al, Proc, Natl, Acad, Sci, U.S.A. 1989, 89, 9389-9393). Current detection techniques require amplification of the genetic material by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and detection of the amplified product by fluorescence, A new reliable method for DNA detection has been developed based on adsorption of DNA on colloidal silver and subsequent signal detection using surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS), It uses specifically designed primers and can be applied directly to genetic analysis, Improved surface and aggregation chemistry, utilizing modified DNA and a novel aggregating agent, has resulted in acceptable reproducibility for biological detection, DNA was detected down to 8 x 10(-13) M, which equates to less than one molecule in the interrogation volume at any one time, and an RSD of 10% was obtained, The increased sensitivity compared to fluorescence circumvents the need for an amplification step, and much greater selectivity is obtained due to the sharp vibrational spectra observed, thus reducing the need for separation procedures. The method is potentially sensitive enough to eliminate the need for time-consuming amplification steps and provide a new dimension to labeling chemistry and multiplex analysis of DNA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4703-4707
Number of pages4
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 1997


  • surface-enhanced raman
  • colloidal silver particles
  • nucleic-acids
  • scattering
  • spectroscopy
  • DNA
  • adsorption
  • electrode
  • pyridine
  • spectra

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  • Impacts

    Multiple target molecular diagnostics testing provides better diagnostics for healthcare

    Duncan Graham (Participant), W. Ewen Smith (Participant) & Karen Faulds (Participant)

    Impact: Impact - for External PortalEconomic and commerce, Health and welfare - new products, guidelines and services

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