Nucleic acid detection methods not requiring polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-mediated target amplification are expected to significantly improve our possibilities for advanced medical diagnostics. For this reason we have developed a nanoparticle-enhanced surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRI) sensing strategy to detect point mutations in non amplified genomic DNA. In particular, we have used non amplified genomic DNAs obtained from both healthy individuals and homozygous or heterozygous patients affected by β-thalassemia, in order to demonstrate ultrasensitive capabilities of the described sensing strategy. Attomolar concentrations of target genomic DNAs are detected, DNAs from healthy individuals and homozygous or heterozygous patients affected by β-thalassemia are discriminated and only simple manipulations of the genetic samples are required before the analysis.
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