Bio Chip


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Most of us won?t like the idea of implanting a biochip in our body that identifies us uniquely and can be used to track our location. That would be a major loss of privacy. But there is a flip side to this! Such biochips could help agencies to locate lost children, downed soldiers and wandering Alzheimer?s patients.

The human body is the next big target of chipmakers. It won?t be long before biochip implants will come to the rescue of sick, or those who are handicapped in someway. Large amount of money and research has already gone into this area of technology.

Anyway, such implants have already experimented with. A few US companies are selling both chips and their detectors. The chips are of size of an uncooked grain of rice, small enough to be injected under the skin using a syringe needle. They respond to a signal from the detector, held just a few feet away, by transmitting an identification number. This number is then compared with the database listings of register pets.

Daniel Man, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Florida, holds the patent on a more powerful device: a chip that would enable lost humans to be tracked by satellite.?


A biochip is a collection of miniaturized test sites (micro arrays) arranged on a solid substrate that permits many tests to be performed at the same time in order to get higher throughput and speed. Typically, a biochip?s surface area is not longer than a fingernail. Like a computer chip that can perform millions of mathematical operation in one second, a biochip can perform thousands of biological operations, such as decoding genes, in a few seconds.

A genetic biochip is designed to ?freeze? into place the structures of many short strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the basic chemical instruction that determines the characteristics of an organism. Effectively, it is used as a kind of ?test tube? for real chemical samples.

A specifically designed microscope can determine where the sample hybridized with DNA strands in the biochip. Biochips helped to dramatically increase the speed of the identification of the estimated 80,000 genes in human DNA, in the world wide research collaboration known as the Human Genome Project. The microchip is described as a sort of ?word search? function that can quickly sequence DNA.

In addition to genetic applications, the biochip is being used in toxicological, protein, and biochemical research. Biochips can also be used to rapidly detect chemical agents used in biological warfare so that defensive measures can be taken.

Motorola, Hitachi, IBM, Texas Instruments have entered into the biochip business.


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