USB-Sized DNA Sequencer by Oxford Nanopore


How quickly things change in the genomic world!  Just over a month since Ion Torrent announced their next-generation Proton Sequencer, the technology may already be obsolete.  This week, the first “nanopore” DNA sequencing Device was unveiled at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference by UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies.  Nanopore sequencing works by passing a DNA strand through a opening only a little larger than the molecule itself.  As each base passes through the opening, it creates an electrical signature that can be read in real-time, without complicated optics or fluidics.  While easy to understand, achieving nanopore sequencing in practice has taken time. Oxford believes they have conquered these hurdles and will have commercial versions available by the end of 2012.  The MinION, pictured here, is expected to retail at about $900.  For more information, see the company website or Nick Loman’s terrific blog post on the device.

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