A regular meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences was held on January 26, 2010. The members of the Presidium heard the scientific report "Molecular colonies". The speaker is Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Borisovich Chetverin.
Molecular colonies (another name is nanocolonies) are formed if biological information macromolecules – DNA or RNA – multiply in a porous medium (for example, in a polyacrylamide gel). Since the sizes of macromolecules (tens of nanometers) are close to the pore sizes, the reproduction products are retained in the pores and remain in the place where they were synthesized. As a result, DNA or RNA colonies are formed, each of which is the offspring of one original macromolecule – a molecular clone. This makes it possible to detect, count and analyze single molecules, as well as clone genes outside the cell.
The most socially significant application of molecular colonies is the diagnosis of infectious and oncological diseases. In essence, the molecular colony method is digital due to the ability to register macromolecules-markers of the disease in the form of separate counting colonies without the need to measure the signal intensity, which significantly increases the reliability of the result. The use of molecular colonies makes it possible to detect 1 molecule of marker DNA or 2 molecules of marker RNA in a clinical sample with 100% specificity. This significantly exceeds the sensitivity and specificity of modern diagnostics, including PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in real time. The molecular colony method is a completely Russian invention, protected by Russian and foreign patents. It belongs to those high-tech areas of science and technology in which Russia has every reason to take a leading position.
From the speeches in the discussion of the report
Academician Spirin Alexander Sergeevich: [...] It seems to me that today it was vividly demonstrated how fundamental works are more important than purely applied ones. And it is in the applied sense.
Academician Ivanov Vadim Tikhonovich: In our conditions, the only real possibility of implementing the results of research is the independent passage of the entire path of research. We do not have the appropriate infrastructures. But the author himself is also unable to cope with this task.
Academician Grigoriev Anatoly Ivanovich: [...] As a doctor, I should note that the presented work is a vivid example of how fundamental research can be used for practical tasks. I should note that it is impossible to sharply criticize what is being done in clinics. To become the property of the clinic, the work must go through a number of stages. It is possible to begin the transition from laboratory development to the production of devices within the framework of a joint program of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. So far, the production of devices is carried out on pure enthusiasm (in St. Petersburg and Moscow State University). It is necessary to allocate (and I am ready to offer) minimal funds to make several devices and start working with clinicians. Systematic and multifaceted complex work is required. In this area, we have priority in the world not only in the fundamental, but also in the diagnostic part. It is necessary to find funds, and, without delay, this year, to begin work on the implementation. If there is no necessary support for the work, the idea itself may be discredited. It is necessary for the researchers themselves to accompany large-scale clinical trials.
At the end of the discussion, Academician Yuri Sergeyevich Osipov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, thanked the author of the scientific report for an excellent report. It is very important that this is a domestic development. We had a lot of developments that have gone into oblivion. Therefore, it is necessary to support the work, to carry out comprehensive work on development and implementation. I propose to Alexander Borisovich Chetverin to write a series of articles about genetic material. This knowledge needs to be popularized. I also find it useful to read a special series of lectures for students. Thank you again very much. It was very interesting.
The meeting also considered the issue of awarding the prize of the Russian Academy of Sciences and awarding an honorary diploma of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the best works on the popularization of science in 2009.
The full text of the message of the press service of the Russian Academy of Sciences is published on the website Кремль.ORGPortal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru