By tagging biomolecules like runners in a race, researchers can track complex interactions that occur in many biological arenas. Now, chemists report a scheme for creating a versatile color-based tagging system out of tiny atomic clusters, called quantum dots. The new method may enable scientists to track biomolecules with more finesse than ever.
The technique could boost by 100-fold the number of biomolecules, such as DNA and proteins, that scientists can monitor at one time, says Shuming Nie of the Indiana University in Bloomington. This capability, in turn, could lead to a deeper understanding of cancer and other diseases. Additional benefits of observing biological processes more fully may include improved drugs and accelerated discovery of functions of many gene