JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mass spectrometer target seen on a screen. The target is analysed before spectrometry to determine whether the sample crystal is of the required quality. This is a MALDI (matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionisation) mass spectr- ometer. This device is used for identification of large biomolecules such as proteins, complex sugars and oligonucleotides (small lengths of DNA or RNA). Here it is being used in proteomics, the study of the structure and function of all the proteins that make up an organism. Relating structure to function will improve understanding of how organisms work and may provide new targets for drugs to combat a wide variety of disorders.
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