We report the development of an automated genetic analyzer for human sample testing based on microfluidic rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with high-resolution melting analysis (HRMA). The integrated DNA microfluidic cartridge was used on a platform designed with a robotic pipettor system that works by sequentially picking up different test solutions from a 384-well plate, mixing them in the tips, and delivering mixed fluids to the DNA cartridge. A novel image feedback flow control system based on a Canon 5D Mark II digital camera was developed for controlling fluid movement through a complex microfluidic branching network without the use of valves. The same camera was used for measuring the high-resolution melt curve of DNA amplicons that were generated in the microfluidic chip. Owing to fast heating and cooling as well as sensitive temperature measurement in the microfluidic channels, the time frame for PCR and HRMA was dramatically reduced from hours to minutes. Preliminary testing results demonstrated that rapid serial PCR and HRMA are possible while still achieving high data quality that is suitable for human sample testing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Medical Laboratory Technology