DNAble, EnviroLogix says, is a very rapid, highly specific isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology that can amplify both RNA and DNA targets with single-base resolution a billion-fold in 5–15 minutes at a single and constant temperature. It features EnviroLogix’ DNAble v2.0 chemistry, which reportedly produces highly specific, rapid, multiplexed, quantitative results rivaling qPCR. Unlike qPCR, which requires purified DNA, the company says DNAble can amplify a target sequence from a crude sample preparation and do so with minimal equipment.
DNAble works by using a nicking enzyme and a strand-displacing polymerase to generate small pieces of DNA that feed a DNA extension reaction; it consists of alternating cycles of nicking and extension processes, leading to exponential amplification. This is much faster, the company says, than the time-consuming thermal cycling that relies on costly equipment. But in contrast to other isothermal methods that rely on DNA strand nicking and displacement synthesis, DNAble chemistry v2.0 has eliminated off-target amplification of nonspecific products.
Further, the company said, DNAble shows little inhibitory effects from a crude extraction or exogenous DNA. As a result, DNAble can reportedly allow for highly sensitive detection with minimal to no sample preparation. The company says its data confirms the high specificity of the assay with no cross-reactivity to closely related bacteria or synthetic mismatch targets.
Lars Erik Peters, Envirologix’ director of product development for molecular diagnostics, told GEN, “Isothermal methods are prone to amplify huge haystacks of nonspecific byproducts but finding the needles of specific product has been difficult. You do not have the high temperature control that you have with PCR to control specificity.” He explained that EnviroLogix “set out to make isothermal technology into a process that is directly comparable to PCR regarding assay design and simplicity of use. This was a real technology endeavor because it not only required optimization of chemistry, but also development of assay design software and instrumentation.”
He further explained that the “background noise in isothermal was extraordinary. But now we have solved the background generation problem and have data that looks like PCR data.”
And Douglas Scientific’s president and COO Dan Malmstrom said, “When we delivered Array Tape for PCR we increased throughput by 10X, reduced reagent costs up to 80–90%, and offered an automated solution that saved laboratories huge amounts of money. We are taking it to the next level—this is a game changer.”
Both companies say that primary targets for their platform are the agbio and plant genomics markets, where they say they already have a good footprint. “This is only possible,” they said, “because in contrast to PCR the technology works with crude extracts, and DNA preparation for PCR has often been more expensive than the PCR reactions themselves.”
Whether this technology produces the anticipated revolution in DNA amplification and extends its applicability remains to be seen.