Diffusion-based microfluidic PCR for “one-pot” analysis of cells†
Genetic analysis starting with cell samples often requires multi-step processing including cell lysis, DNA isolation/purification, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assays. When conducted on a microfluidic platform, the compatibility among various steps often demands a complicated procedure and a complex device structure. Here we present a microfluidic device that permits a “one-pot” strategy for multi-step PCR analysis starting from cells. Taking advantage of the diffusivity difference, we replace the smaller molecules in the reaction chamber by diffusion while retaining DNA molecules inside. This simple scheme effectively removes reagents from the previous step to avoid interference and thus permits multi-step processing in the same reaction chamber. Our approach shows high efficiency for PCR and potential for a wide range of genetic analysis including assays based on single cells.