The promise of nanostructure-based biodiagnostic assays is assessed with respect to how they compare with the PCR/molecular fluorophore approach for DNA or ELISAs for proteins. Dendrimers are used as a means to increase the number of labels associated with each target binding event. Using a dendrimer probe containing 250 fluorophores, the fluorescent assay sensitivity increases by a factor of ∼16. However, the dendrimer introduces an additional level of synthetic complexity to the assay. Electrochemical assays based upon molecular probes are attractive because of their low cost and simplicity.
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