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Inexpensive DNA test may help identify inherited disease risk

Category: DNA, Paternity and Genetic testing

A new, low-cost, accurate DNA test capable of revealing a patient's risk of developing certain diseases may soon become available to doctors.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh have developed a technique of identifying variations in a person's genetic code using only one drop of saliva. Any omissions in DNA code can allow doctors to determine the health of a patient and their susceptibility to disease.

If validated, the researchers hope that the method can eliminate the need for conventional DNA testing which utilizes expensive enzymes.

"This technology offers a speedy, cost-efficient alternative to existing methods of DNA analysis, said lead researcher Juan Diaz-Mochon, of the university's School of Chemistry.

"The market for DNA testing is quickly expanding as it becomes more affordable," he added. "Our method could help reach the goal of complete genome analysis in a few hours for less than $1000."

Associate researcher Mark Bradley added that they will soon test the method to see whether it can decode entire human genomes and plan to establish their first commercial operations within the next six months.

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