Nucleic acid analysis tools : Novel technologies and biomedical applications

Sammanfattning: Nucleic acids are fundamental molecules of living organisms functioning essentially as the molecular information carriers of life. From how an organism is built to how it responds to external conditions, all of it, can be found in the form of nucleic acid sequences inside every single cell of every life form on earth.Therefore, accessing these sequences provides key information regarding the molecular identity and functional state of any living organism, this is very useful for areas like biomedicine, where accessing and understanding these molecular signatures is the key to develop strategies to understand, treat and diagnose diseases.Decades of research and technological advancements have led to the development of a number of molecular tools and engineering technologies that allow accessing the information contained in the nucleic acids. This thesis provides a general overview of the tools and technologies available for nucleic acid analysis, and proposes an illustrative concept on how molecular tools and emergent technologies can be combined in a modular fashion to design methods for addressing different biomedical questions. The studies included in this thesis, are focused on the particular use of the molecular tools named: padlock and selector probes, rolling circle amplification, and fluorescence detection of single molecules in combination with microfluidics and portable microscopy. By using this combination, it became possible to design and demonstrate novel approaches for integrated nucleic acid analysis, inexpensive digital quantification, mobile-phone based diagnostics and the description of viral infections.These studies represent a step forward towards the adoption of the selected group of tools and technologies, for the design and building of methods that can be used as powerful alternatives to conventional tools used in molecular diagnostics and virology. 

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