The present invention is directed to a method of sequencing a target nucleic acid. The method provides a complex comprising a polymerase enzyme, a target nucleic acid molecule, and a primer, wherein the complex is immobilized on a support Fluorescent label is attached to a terminal phosphate group of the nucleotide or nucleotide analog. The growing nucleic acid strand is extended by using the polymerase to add a nucleotide analog to the nucleic acid strand. The nucleotide analog added to the oligonucleotide primer as a result of the polymerizing step is identified. The time duration of the signal from labeled nucleotides or nucleotide analogs that become incorporated is distinguished from freely diffusing labels by a longer retention in the observation volume for the nucleotides or nucleotide analogs that become incorporated than for the freely diffusing labels.
This invention was made with funds provided by the U.S. Government under National Science Foundation Grant No. BIR8800278, National Institutes of Health Grant No. P412RR04224-11, and Department of Energy Grant No. 066898-0003891. The U.S. Government may have certain rights in this invention.