The efficient analysis and noninvasive detection of molecules such as DNA, mRNA, and miRNA for clinical diagnostics requires sensitive, high-throughput methods. By segregating individual sequences within separate compartments, digital procedures allow identification of very rare sequences. These procedures are based on the limiting dilution of biological samples in individual compartments such as droplets of a water-in-oil emulsion, and relies on the discrete counting of a given event, providing an absolute value and quantitative data. Coupled with microfluidic systems, digital procedures could become an essential diagnostic tool for the study of diseases as well as patient management.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.