Talking Techniques


Liquid biopsy and cfNAs: driving forward diagnostics and disease research

Season 3, Ep. 7

The key diagnostic and prognostic information locked away in cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) has become increasingly accessible due to developments in genetic and epigenetic profiling techniques. These advances have engendered the rise of liquid biopsy techniques, which capture and analyze cfNAs from samples such as blood, saliva, urine and feces, in diagnostics and basic disease research.

However, challenges remain in the detection and analysis of these nucleic acid fragments, in part due to their low abundance and fragile nature. In this episode, Ayla Maunighan-Peter, Epigenetics Product Specialist at Zymo research (CA, USA), details the utility of these molecules, the challenges associated with their development and implementation of liquid biopsies and their use in both basic research and diagnostic spaces.

For an insight into how cfNAs can be used to identify novel drug targets, impact diagnostics development and be used to help soothe the organ shortage crisis, listen today!


  • Intro: 00:00-00:40
  • What are cfNAs? 1:50-02:35
  • The role of cfNAs in Liquid biopsy: 02:35-04:25
  • Markers analyzed in cfNAs: 04:25-06:10
  • Epigenetic analysis of cfNAs: 06:05-07:55
  • Techniques for epigenetic analysis of cfNAs: 08:00-08:55
  • Introducing fragmentomics: 08:55-11:05
  • Challenges in the development of liquid biopsy: 11:05-14:40
  • How is the field trying to adapt to these challenges? 14:40-16:10
  • Applications of cfNAs in basic research: 16:10-17:30
  • The most exciting findings concerning the role of cfNAs in disease: 17:30-20:05
  • One thing to improve our understanding and use of cfNAs: 20:05-21:10
  • Conclusions: 21:15-22:15 

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The gut–brain axis and addiction

Season 3, Ep. 12
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3D cell cultures: the latest developments, applications and regulations in the field

Season 3, Ep. 11
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rAAVs, host-cell contamination and ddPCR

Season 3, Ep. 10
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