The detection and quantification of short nucleic acid sequences has many potential applications in studying biological processes, monitoring disease initiation and progression, and evaluating environmental systems, but is challenging by nature. We present here an assay based on the solid-state nanopore platform for the identification of specific sequences in solution. We demonstrate that hybridization of a target nucleic acid with a synthetic probe molecule enables discrimination between duplex and single-stranded molecules with high efficacy. Our approach requires limited preparation of samples and yields an unambiguous translocation event rate enhancement that can be used to determine the presence and abundance of a single sequence within a background of nontarget oligonucleotides
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