DNA Sequencing Technique Using Massive Cluster Impact Mass Spectrometry

Peter Williams (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


The need for more rapid DNA sequencing technologies was recognized very early in the Human Genome Project, and a number of novel new approaches have been pursued over the past several years. Existing methodologies have been shown to be only marginally adequate, in speed and accuracy, for genome-scale sequencing. Of the possible competing technologies, mass spectrometry has appeared the most promising primarily because the potential advantages, in speed and accuracy of mass spectrometric sequencing due to the ability to generate intact gas-phase ions of massive bio-molecules. It has appeared probable that steady incremental advances in one or other of these techniques should result in a sequencing technology capable of competing with and improving upon gel electrophoresis approaches. A novel new approach to biomolecular ion generation - massive cluster impact (MCI) - could represent a major breakthrough if used correctly.The concept underlying Massive Cluster Impact (MCI) was largely developed at Arizona State University. MCI was conceived as a particle-impact bio-molecule desorption technique in which impact momentum and energy density could be tuned independently to avoid extensive molecular damage. In MCI, molecules are desorbed by impact of highly energetic massive glycerol clusters. Researchers at Arizona State University have now developed the MCI technique further, establishing parameters under which DNA or other large bio-molecules can be effectively and rapidly sequenced. The technology now works exactly as predicted, yielding clean molecular ion signals of large molecules in a mass spectrum largely free from the fragmentation noise that typically accompanied atomic particle bombardment. e
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 1900


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