Gene expression analysis measures the activity of genes and reveals valuable information about the internal states of living cells. NASA Ames has developed a novel system for conducting quantitative, real-time gene expression analysis that not only significantly improves the sample preparation procedures and provides a quick, cost-effective solution needed in a laboratory, but also minimizes the risk of RNA contamination and degradation. The invention, a novel assay methodology and suite of devices, has been developed to isolate nucleic acids from Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells and prepare samples for Reverse Transcriptase-quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis.

The sample preparation module (SPM).

The invention consists of a method to extract and purify nucleic acids from biospecimen that does not require organics or toxic chemicals and provides containment for the liquids. The assay employs an aqueous-based, non-alcohol method that yields robust RNA quality, and PCR reaction tubes that are pre-loaded with stabilized lyo-philized reagents designed to perform RT-qPCR analysis — enabling rapid, cost-effective, and portable manual operation in the laboratory or remote field environments.

This innovative technology greatly reduces preparation time to less than 10% of the time it would take using standard techniques. This technology could be used with any commercial quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) machine.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 855-627-2249 to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.