Microfluidics for biological measurements with single-molecule resolution

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Feb:25:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Sep 27.


Single-molecule approaches in biology have been critical in studies ranging from the examination of physical properties of biological macromolecules to the extraction of genetic information from DNA. The variation intrinsic to many biological processes necessitates measurements with single-molecule resolution in order to accurately recapitulate population distributions. Microfluidic technology has proven to be useful in the facilitation and even enhancement of single-molecule studies because of the precise liquid handling, small volume manipulation, and high throughput capabilities of microfluidic devices. In this review we survey the microfluidic "toolbox" available to the single-molecule specialist and summarize some recent biological applications of single-molecule detection on chip.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • Gene Dosage
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics / methods*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • DNA