Automated Yeast Pedigree Analysis

Introduction Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or budding yeast, is a single-cell eukaryotic microorganism that commonly is used by biologists to study genetics. Yeast pedigree analysis is used to study genomic instability associated with aging and cancer and involves the isolation and characterization of the products of mitotic cell divisions throughout the lifespan of an individual cell. The mother cell is trapped and held in place as daughter cells are identified and captured for further study. Yeast pedigree analysis is an extremely labor intensive process, requiring a biologist to manipulate individual budding yeast cells every 90 minutes for up to 150 hours. An automated process for this type of analysis would allow more sophisticated experiments to be done rapidly. Technology description A system for performing yeast pedigree analysis has been developed around a microfluidic device and a magnetic trapping system. The mother cell is magnetically trapped in the device and daughter cells are identified optically and automatically placed on an agar dish. The system is controlled by a computer program. The magnetic trapping mechanism is not specific to yeast and could be adapted to a wide range of cell types for pedigree studies. Business opportunity Automating yeast pedigree analysis would allow the rapid completion of experiments that would have previously taken a biologist’s lifetime to perform. This technology should be of interest as a research tool for laboratories studying yeast as well as in other cases where cell lineage is of interest. Intellectual property position Patents are pending on this technology. Related Publication(s)
Automated Lifetime Analysis of a Single Yeast Cell” J. Koschwanez et al., Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering

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