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      Selective Colorimetric Detection of Polynucleotides Based on the Distance-Dependent Optical Properties of Gold Nanoparticles

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          A DNA-based method for rationally assembling nanoparticles into macroscopic materials.

          Colloidal particles of metals and semiconductors have potentially useful optical, optoelectronic and material properties that derive from their small (nanoscopic) size. These properties might lead to applications including chemical sensors, spectroscopic enhancers, quantum dot and nanostructure fabrication, and microimaging methods. A great deal of control can now be exercised over the chemical composition, size and polydispersity of colloidal particles, and many methods have been developed for assembling them into useful aggregates and materials. Here we describe a method for assembling colloidal gold nanoparticles rationally and reversibly into macroscopic aggregates. The method involves attaching to the surfaces of two batches of 13-nm gold particles non-complementary DNA oligonucleotides capped with thiol groups, which bind to gold. When we add to the solution an oligonucleotide duplex with 'sticky ends' that are complementary to the two grafted sequences, the nanoparticles self-assemble into aggregates. This assembly process can be reversed by thermal denaturation. This strategy should now make it possible to tailor the optical, electronic and structural properties of the colloidal aggregates by using the specificity of DNA interactions to direct the interactions between particles of different size and composition.
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            Controlled Nucleation for the Regulation of the Particle Size in Monodisperse Gold Suspensions

             G. FRENS (1973)
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              Molecular beacons: probes that fluoresce upon hybridization.

              We have developed novel nucleic acid probes that recognize and report the presence of specific nucleic acids in homogeneous solutions. These probes undergo a spontaneous fluorogenic conformational change when they hybridize to their targets. Only perfectly complementary targets elicit this response, as hybridization does not occur when the target contains a mismatched nucleotide or a deletion. The probes are particularly suited for monitoring the synthesis of specific nucleic acids in real time. When used in nucleic acid amplification assays, gene detection is homogeneous and sensitive, and can be carried out in a sealed tube. When introduced into living cells, these probes should enable the origin, movement, and fate of specific mRNAs to be traced.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                August 22 1997
                August 22 1997
                August 22 1997
                August 22 1997
                : 277
                : 5329
                : 1078-1081
                10.1126/science.277.5329.1078
                © 1997

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