Zone in with Zon: World’s Smallest PCR System for Molecular Diagnostics

In his most recent Zone-in-with-Zon column, Dr. Jerry Zon describes various technology record achievements, with particular focus on the recently announced claim by Spartan Biosystems for its 4” by 4” by 4” as the world’s smallest real-time PCR system for molecular diagnostics. Spartan has not publicized the contents of the Cube or how it has achieved this impressive minimization, but Dr. Zon did advance some hypotheses, based on his experience, as to how scientists at Sparta might have achieved this. In addition, as an organic chemist, Dr. Zon could not help rhapsodizing about the cubic shape in general. “To me, there’s something visually intriguing about a cube, perhaps because it’s one of the so-called Platonic Solids, which have been known since antiquity and studied extensively by the ancient Greeks. Platonic solids such as the cube have also fascinated chemists, as evidenced by there being a substantial amount of published literature on the synthesis and physical properties of platonic solids. For example, cubane (C8H8) is a synthetic hydrocarbon molecule that consists of eight carbon atoms arranged at the corners of a cube, with one hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom. A solid crystalline substance, cubane was first synthesized in 1964 by Philip Eaton and Thomas Cole. Prior to this work, researchers believed that cubic carbon-based molecules would be too unstable to exist. Dr. Zon is a highly experienced and highly regarded nucleic acid chemist. He is currently Director of Business Development at TriLink BioTechnologies in San Diego, California. The entirety of Dr. Zon’s recent blog can be viewed at the link below. Previous Dr. Zon blogs can also be viewed at that site. [Zone-in-with-Zon blog]
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