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Molecular Detection of Pathogens in Environmental and Clinical Samples

As a method for detecting microorganisms in samples, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is fast, sensitive, and specific. However, it is unable to distinguish viable pathogen cells from dead cells and free nucleic acid fragments. We have shown that PCR tests for ribosomal RNA precursors (pre-rRNA) can overcome this problem. In collaboration with a Seattle-based commercial licensee, AttoDx, Inc, we are developing pre-rRNA tests for pathogen detection in environmental as well as clinical samples.

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