Study of single-nucleotide polymorphisms by means of electrical conductance measurements

Joshua Hihath, Bingqian Xu, Peiming Zhang, Nongjian Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Understanding the complexities of DNA has been a hallmark of science for over a half century, and one of the important topics in DNA research is recognizing the occurrence of mutations in the base-stack. In this article, we present a study of SNPs by direct-contact electrical measurements to a single DNA duplex. We have used short, 11- and 12-bp dsDNA to investigate the change in conductance that occurs if a single base pair, a single base, or two separate bases in the stack are modified. All measurements are carried out in aqueous solution with the DNA chemically bound to the electrodes. These measurements demonstrate that the presence of a single base pair mismatch can be identified by the conductance of the molecule and can cause a change in the conductance of dsDNA by as much as an order of magnitude, depending on the specific details of the double helix and the single nucleotide polymorphism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16979-16983
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 22 2005


  • Molecular electronics
  • Scanning tunneling microscope break junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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