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Rewriting Life

Three-Minute Anthrax Sensor

By using live mouse immune cells, the BioFlash sensor can detect potential airborne bioterror agents in three minutes. Fans pull airborne particles into a disposable disc containing the mouse cells, which have been genetically engineered to emit blue light when exposed to one of six agents, including anthrax and smallpox. The glowing cells eliminate the need for sample preparation and for a separate imaging system. The U.S. government is already using the BioFlash for building security in the Washington, DC, area.

Credit: Todd Wright

This story is part of our May/June 2008 Issue
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