The analysis of DNA samples requires three processes: extraction, amplification and detection. There are well-developed technologies for PCR, qPCR, HID and electrophoretic separation, but all are complex, difficult to automate, labour intensive and poorly integrated.
DNA extraction in particular has become locked into a few overly-complex procedures. Most methods rely on proteinase K, SDS and purification by columns, beads or solvent extraction. ZyGEM has broken this mindset by replacing proteinase K and strong detergents with alternative enzymes and reagents tailored to the type of sample and are fully compatible with almost all downstream applications. With ZyGEM, nucleic acids can be prepared hands-off, quickly and at a low cost. Furthermore, the closed-cartridge nature of the methods means that staff are protected from pathogens, samples can extracted in sub-µl volumes, and forensic samples are protected from contamination.
ZyGEM is well-advanced in developing new complementary devices that leverage its expertise in DNA extraction by simplifying and integrating the other stages in-vitro DNA diagnosis. Emerging technologies include a field-analysis human ID device (faSTR) and an integrated portable extraction/qPCR device.
The DNA and RNA extraction kits provide low-cost, high-throughput solutions and are suited to automation and point-of-use (field), point-of-care detection of genes, organisms and pathogens. We are constantly expanding the range of applicability. If you have a particularly unusual sample, we are happy to work with you.
Four families of reagent products are marketed under the ZyGEM brand:
- prepGEM: covers most sample types and applications in basic and biomedical research. We can adapt this product for the detection of sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, malaria and other blood-borne pathogens.
- forensicGEM: delivers fast, low-cost DNA profiling in forensics. It is being adopted by some of the most well-respected forensics labs in the world. ForensicGEM reagents and disposables are manufactured according to ISO 18385.
- phytoGEM: a simple technique for collecting cells from leaves, seeds, roots, stems and cotyledons, generating PCR-ready DNA within 10-15 minutes.
- RNAGEM: provides a simple and efficient method for RNA extraction and gene expression analysis with significant implications for point-of-care, personal genomics and field detection of RNA viruses (Influenza, bird flu, Ebola, HIV and plant diseases).
Current nucleic acid extraction methods are complex which makes them difficult and costly to automate. ZyGEM chemistry bypasses these shortfalls and so has allowed us to develop a device with no moving parts to prepare PCR-ready DNA within 7-20 minutes.
The system uses specially designed consumable cartridges which contain prepGEM/forensicGEM and other enzymes and reagents. It can be used for many forensic samples and its ability to lyse sperms cells makes it ideal for rapid Y chromosome screening. For agriculture, and plant R&D, ZyGEM have completely removed the onerous requirement to grind leaves in liquid nitrogen. The PDQeX 2400 is fully developed and has uptake in the forensic, plant and life sciences markets.
phytoGEM: Plant System
Extraction of DNA from leaf plant samples by current methods is laborious and difficult. The phytoGEM system combines a powerful extraction chemistry specially formulated to get rid of inhibitory polyphenols and polysaccharides with an innovative sample collection and storage system.
The sampling process, which takes seconds, crushes the leaf onto a storage card. With long-term storage of samples built into the procedure, there is no extra work and bags and tubes in the freezer.
The DNA extraction process using the PDQeX technology is rapid and automated, going from leaf on a tree to PCR-ready DNA in approximately 15 minutes. The instrument is small so processing can be done in the greenhouse with no need to take samples back to the lab. The phytoGEM system can be easily adapted to work with different plant tissue and sample types, making it a must have in plant labs.
ZyGEM Integrated Analytical Platforms (in development)
This family of platforms are rapid DNA machines that combine processes (extraction, amplification and separation), into single, small, and easy-to-use devices to minimise labour, reduce contamination risk and produce very fast results; variants of these devices will be for field use. The range comprises:
- FaSTR Profiling System: a field DNA analysis device capable of generating a 10 loci profile in less than 30 minutes
- PDQeX – qPCR: an integrated DNA extraction system for the detection of specific pathogens. The system allows easy extrapolation to other nucleic acid targets.
Portable PDQeX (in development)
The ZyGEM Portable PDQeX will be the answer for efficient and accurate DNA extraction in the field. Currently undergoing final testing, this little powerhouse will provide the capacity to extract 16 samples in 6-20 minutes depending on the sample type. At only 2.7 kg (under 6 pounds) and with USB/bluetooth capabilities, it will be ideally suited for quick forensic DNA testing at the scene or for on-site agricultural and plant extraction.