Pocket Sized USB DNA Reader
I won’t claim to be a science expert, but found this article very interesting about a DNA Reader just a little larger than a USB drive.
For years, Illumina Technology has the lead in genome sequencing. Their gear is good and from what I understand their gear is expensive. The MinION (from Oxford Nanopore ) is an inexpensive alternative with some great upsides.
The DNA sequencer is just over $1,000 at the time of this post. Traditionally, a DNA sequencer could only read about 200 basis. A “basis” is a nucleobasis which is a collection of biologicial compounds that make up the basic building blocks of nucleic acid… or DNA.
The MinION is impressive with the ability to read 900,000 basis. Also called “long reads.” With the long reads you get a better idea of the compounds making up the DNA. Although the longer reads are not as accurate as short reads, the trade-off isn’t bad. The amount of time and effort to construct a long read from a collection of short reads is considerable. The less accurate long reads from MinION and not that far off base, thus a bit of a break through.
It is simply amazing that 15 years ago the human genome was a global effort, yet today it can be done in a device no larger than a flash drive.
Here is a more detailed article from ARS Technology if you find this as fascinating as we do.
Tags: USB DNA