Finally, A Mutant Detector

University of Pittsburgh researcher Alexander Star and colleagues at a California-based company, Nanomix, Inc., have developed devices made of carbon nanotubes that can find mutations in genes causing hereditary diseases, they report in the Jan. 16 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. This method is less expensive and takes less time than conventional techniques.

Carbon nanotubes are rolled-up sheets of graphite only a few nanometers wide-about the width of a molecule of DNA. The researchers used these nanotubes’ electrical properties to find a particular mutation in the gene…