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Volume 226, 2021, 122146

Hairpin DNA-Mediated isothermal amplification (HDMIA) techniques for nucleic acid testing

Idorenyin A.Iwea, Wenqin Lib, Zhigang Lia, Jiahao Huangb

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Nucleic acid detection is of great importance in a variety of areas, from life science and clinical diagnosis to environmental monitoring and food safety. Unfortunately, nucleic acid targets are always found in trace amounts and their response signals are difficult to be detected. Amplification mechanisms are then practically needed to either duplicate nucleic acid targets or enhance the detection signals. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one of the most popular and powerful techniques for nucleic acid analysis. But the requirement of costly devices for precise thermo-cycling procedures in PCR has severely hampered the wide applications of PCR. Fortunately, isothermal molecular reactions have emerged as promising alternatives. The past decade has witnessed significant progress in the research of isothermal molecular reactions utilizing hairpin DNA probes (HDPs). Based on the nucleic acid strand interaction mechanisms, the hairpin DNA-mediated isothermal amplification (HDMIA) techniques can be mainly divided into three categories: strand assembly reactions, strand decomposition reactions, and strand creation reactions. In this review, we introduce the basics of HDMIA methods, including the sensing principles, the basic and advanced designs, and their wide applications, especially those benefiting from the utilization of G-quadruplexes and nanomaterials during the past decade. We also discuss the current challenges encountered, highlight the potential solutions, and point out the possible future directions in this prosperous research area.

Keywords: Isothermal amplification molecular reaction, Hybridization chain reaction, Catalytic hairpin assembly, Nuclease, G-quadruplex, Nanomaterials.

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