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Analytical Chemistry

Novel DNA Sequencers Debut

by Ann M. Thayer
February 27, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 9

Credit: Oxford Nanopore Technologies
The MinION is small and disposable.
This is the MinION, a miniaturized, disposable DNA sequencing device, about the size of a USB memory stick.
Credit: Oxford Nanopore Technologies
The MinION is small and disposable.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies is preparing to launch new DNA-sequencing devices that use nanopore strand-sequencing technology. The method works by passing a single-stranded DNA polymer through a protein nanopore to identify individual DNA bases. According to the company, this approach allows for very long sequence read lengths, high throughput, real-time results, and minimal sample preparation. Instrumentation industry stock analysts are calling the new devices a disruptive and game-changing technology, especially in applied settings, and potential competition for sequencing products from Life Technologies and Illumina. To be available by year-end, the GridION system consists of nodes with consumable cartridges. Each node, which can deliver tens of gigabytes of sequence data in 24 hours, can be used as a single desktop instrument or networked for larger analyses. The MinION is a disposable sequencing device about the size of a USB memory stick. It is expected to sell for less than $900 when available midyear. Oxford Nanopore was a 2005 spin-off of the University of Oxford.


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