Introduction: An update on the uses and applications of the non-cross-linking (NCL) hybridization assay based on the spectral modulation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are presented, emphasizing DNA and RNA detection. Areas covered: Nanotechnology is strongly impacting the way we address diagnostics and therapeutics. In fact, nanoscale devices and particles have been used in a variety of platforms for improved biosensing and, more interestingly, for molecular diagnostics. AuNPs have been used in a great diversity of DNA and RNA detection strategies that are based on their nanoscale properties. Their unique optical properties have put them at the forefront of colorimetric sensing platforms. Among these, those relying on the NCL mechanism using DNA-modified AuNPs have shown remarkable versatility and simplicity for molecular detection of human pathogens, identification of single base alterations at the basis of human disease, gene expression, among others. Application of the NCL assay to molecular diagnostics will be discussed considering the challenges for validation and clinically relevant targets. Expert commentary: Integration of the NCL approach using AuNPs into chip biosensing platforms, projecting miniaturization and portability, will be addressed in terms of the future, i.e. clinical validation and translation to market.
- gold nanoparticles
- Molecular diagnostics