According to the study, researchers developing an new method; for imaging the biological molecules. Where new method for creating images of molecules in cells or tissue samples. The method is basing on the use of DNA snippets and is called DNA microscopy. The new method involves researchers in the first stage mixing up a cell or tissue sample with short sequences of single-stranded DNA, selected to attach to the specific molecules that are going to be studied.
If it for example involves a specific protein that is going to be investigated, small DNA snippets are used that bind to this particular protein. In the next stage, enzymes are fed to the short DNA sequences to connect and form DNA molecules. By analyzing these newly formed DNA molecules with so-called DNA sequencing, it is possible to see exactly which DNA snippets have ended up next to each other.
Images of molecules
Based on this information, you can add a puzzle that shows how all of the DNA sequences must be connected. Since DNA sequences are attaching to the molecules that are being representing; it is possible to understand how abundant they occur and where they are in the cells. What researchers are now publishing is a mathematical model that makes it possible to calculate this as well as create images from such information.
The advantage of this method, which scientists call DNA microscopy, is that it makes it possible to search for specific molecules within a larger material, such as a whole cell collection or a tissue sample. With traditional microscopy, where you have to look at one area at a time, it is very time consuming. But with DNA microscopy it is possible to, for example, screen for certain molecules and examine how frequent they are.
The method also makes it possible to see what role the immediate environment plays in the life of a cell; i.e. how micro-environment might affect possible disease; development to mention only two of several possible useful areas when it comes to DNA microscopy. This is a tool that can be using to gain a better understanding; of how biology works and how cells work together.
This knowledge can provide us with a better picture of how different diseases develop. In the long run, this tool can also provide opportunities for safer diagnostics. The theory developed here could serve as a basis for an automated, multiplexable; and potentially superresolution imaging method based purely on molecular information.