Latest Issue of Science News


News

Smells like DNA

By reshuffling the chemical letters of the genetic code, scientists have made short strands of DNA that can distinguish several different smells, such as explosives and food preservatives.

The new artificial-nose technology could eventually sniff out bombs or a bad batch of chardonnay, says John Kauer, a neuroscientist at Tufts University in Boston. He and colleague Joel White have launched a company called Cogniscent to commercialize their device.

Their artificial nose isn't made of whole genes, which are thousands of letters, or nucleotides, long. Instead, the nose uses short combinations of the chemical units (A, C, T and G) that build DNA, Kauer's team reports in the January PLoS Biology.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.