If the sample matches that for which the chip has been primed, hydrogen ions are released (as happens when pairs of nucleotides bind during DNA sequencing). This creates a signal that switches on the chip and reveal that the person suffers from or is predisposed to that particular condition. Should no signal be sent, no nucleotides bind together, no hydrogen ions are released and no signal is sent, meaning the individual is not suffering from, or predisposed to, that condition.
“We all differ by 0.1% and every time somebody has a genetic test we might discover another difference,” Toumazou explains. “Those differences are mutations and we make primers for those that are contained on the chip.”
The portable nature of the chips mean tests can take place rapidly within a doctor’s clinic or in remote locations far from medical facilities. They could even be conducted inside a patient’s own home given the chip can be plugged into a laptop, or similar device, to obtain the results. The pivotal point is that specialists are not required.