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Disease Markers
Volume 18, Issue 4, Pages 185-191

Nanometer-Scale Pores: Potential Applications for Analyte Detection and DNA Characterization

John J. Kasianowicz

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8313, USA

Received 12 February 2003; Accepted 12 February 2003

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several classes of transmembrane protein ion channels function in vivo as sensitive and selective detection elements for analytes. Recent studies on single channels reconstituted into planar lipid bilayer membranes suggest that nanometer-scale pores can be used to detect, quantitate and characterize a wide range of analytes that includes small ions and single stranded DNA. We briefly review here these studies and identify leaps in technology that, if realized, might lead to innovations for the early detection of cancer.