Microfluidics in Medicine

A pair of gloved hands hold up a plastic-cased microfluidic device.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Human Genome Project spent years decoding DNA from a handful of donors. The work was painstaking and slow, given DNA sequencing technology of the time. Today the same analysis goes much faster (and is much cheaper), thanks largely to microfluidic devices that automate steps that once had to be done by hand. Microfluidic devices have also made their way into medical diagnostics — pregnancy tests, at-home COVID tests, and blood glucose strips used by diabetics are common examples — as well as experimental biology. The Scientists has a nice review covering some of the many ways these devices have revolutionized the field. (Image credit: CDC; see also The Scientist; submitted by Marc A.)

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