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Test Kits to Distinguish Smokers from Non-Smokers

Technology Opportunity

Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing a business partner interested in developing and commercializing Kits and Methods to Distinguish Current Smokers from Never Smokers using DNA methylation status.

DNA methylation is one of the epigenetic mechanisms for gene regulation, and tobacco-smoking can altered this mechanism. Currently available techniques to distinguish current smokers from never smokers, based on DNA methylation status, use chip arrays and require large amounts of DNA and laborious bioinformatic analysis, making them unsuitable for forensic or other applications with limited samples.

FIU inventors have developed kits and methods to identify DNA methylation status at specific gene locations in a cell (CpG sites), which help identify smoking habits of the person from which the cell originated. The kits comprise specific sets of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers designed to amplify the CpG sites of interest, and optionally a sequencing primer designed to sequence the amplicon produced by the PCR.


  • Intelligence tool in case of unknown DNA profiles when working with trace levels of DNA recovered from crime scenes
  • Diagnostic marker in clinical fields for certain diseases, such as lung infections
  • Potential use by insurance companies to identify the smoking status of an individual


  • Simple, and cost effective
  • Allow for the determination of the methylation status with high accuracy and speed
  • Work with small amounts of samples: between about 0.1 to about 500 ng genomic DNA
  • Can be designed in a high-throughput manner to process a large number of samples
Research Terms: Life Sciences > Biology
Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Keywords: Biosciences/Chemistry;
Technology Information URL:
University: Florida International University
Tech Transfer URL:

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