Development of a Dynamic Model for In Vitro DNA Ligand Selection

Aptamers are single stranded DNA molecules that due to their sequence bind to specific target molecules. The process for the identification of aptamers for a specific target involves exposure of a large number of random sequences to the target followed by selection of sequences that bind. This process requires several several selection cycles for success. Selection is based on two overlapping factors, strengh of binding and specificity of binding. Mathematical models that provide some explanation of the effect of selection pressure on the strength of binding exist, but these models do not include consideration of selection for specificity. This project is focused on the development of a broader model that will include consideration of selection for specificity and the effect of this selection on the probability distibution of the population. NeoVentures requires this understanding to establish selecyion protocols that optimize specificity for their selection of DNA ligands for commerical targets.

Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Silvana Ilie