For so long, DNA analysis required the DNA to be sliced into tiny pieces despite the percentage of error involved. Now the nanopore based technology has rid us of this necessity. DNA strands pass intact through nanopores on the sensor chip for sequencing. Hence they can be reutilized for analysis and the errors that chopping DNA introduced is also avoided.
DNA strands pass through nanopores base pair by base pair and their speed of passage can be controlled. Slower passage rate yields more accurate results.
Compared to other time-consuming sequencing processes, the MinION does not involve DNA amplification and is thus much faster. It has a maximum working life of six hours.
Devised in the form of a USB memory stick, the MinION is a portable item and can prove useful for small scale analyses.
According to Oxford Nanopore, the MinION will be commercially available on the market by the year end at a retail price of $900. For now, it is intended for short sequencing jobs like pathogen identification and genetic mutation screening. However the present success and the continual ongoing research promise the possibility of sequencing larger genomes with the MinION in future. It can also eventually make DNA sequencing universally accessible.
About the author: Margaret is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on environment and technology. Beside this she is fond of books. She recently did an article on Gizmowatch. These days she is busy in writing an article on frii.