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Disposable Sensor

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a disposable sensor for detecting hazardous uranium ions, with sensitivity that rivals the performance of much more sophisticated laboratory instruments.According to the researchers, the sensor provides a fast, on-site test for assessing uranium contamination in the environment, and the effectiveness of remediation strategies.

While most DNA is double stranded, the catalytic DNA the research group used has a single strand region that can wrap around like a protein. In that single strand, the researchers fashion a specific binding site -- a kind of pocket that can only accommodate the metal ion of choice.

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