Nanopore sequencing has been promised as a technique that will revolutionize genomics for quite a few years, and it looks like we will finally see some real-world results soon. Oxford Nanopore Technologies from Oxford in the U.K. has just announced two systems for DNA sequencing, a high throughput system called GridION and a smaller USB-powered miniature sequencer called the MinION. Both devices take advantage of proprietary nanopore sensing techniques as explained in the video below.
The GridION system consists of scalable nodes which use consumable cartridges to perform multi-nanopore sensing. Each node is capable of delivering tens of gigabytes of sequence data per day. The MinION system is a miniaturized version of the GridION node and cartridge. It is a disposable, portable DNA sequencing device the size of a large USB memory stick which is expected to retail for less than $900.
From the press release:
- Oxford Nanopore’s GridION platform was presented, consisting of a scalable network device – a node – designed for use with a consumable cartridge. Each cartridge is initially designed for real-time sequencing by 2,000 individual nanopores at any one time. Alternative configurations with more processing cores will become available in early 2013 containing over 8,000 nanopores.
- Nodes may be clustered in a similar way to computing devices, allowing users to increase the number of nanopore experiments being conducted at any one time if a faster time-to-result is required. For example, a 20-node installation using an 8,000 nanopore configuration would be expected to deliver a complete human genome in 15 minutes.
- A variety of sample preparation options were presented. No sample amplification is required and any user-derived sample preparation resulting in double stranded DNA (dsDNA) in solution is compatible with the system. With nanopores embedded in robust polymer membranes, dsDNA can be sensed directly from blood and in some cases with no sample preparation.
The whole system looks very impressive and it will be interesting to see how this technology will be put to use, particularly the portable MinION device. Both systems are due to become commercially available later this year. The technology and both devices have received a fair bit of hype over the last week around the internet (deservedly so), but we have also linked below to a weblog putting everything in perspective and explaining what it is exactly Oxford Nanopore Technologies has achieved.
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