Microfluidic methods for aptamer selection and characterization
Nucleic acid aptamers have tremendous potential as molecular recognition elements in biomedical targeting, analytical arrays, and self-signaling sensors. However, practical limitations and inefficiencies in the process of selecting novel aptamers (SELEX) have hampered widespread adoption of aptamer technologies. Many factors have recently contributed to more effective aptamer screening, but no influence has done more to increase the efficiency, scale, and automation of aptamer selection than that of new microfluidic SELEX techniques. This review introduces aptamers as a powerful chemical and biological tool, briefly highlights traditional SELEX techniques and their limitations, covers in detail the recent advancements in microfluidic methods of aptamer selection and characterization, and suggests possible future directions of the field.