Mini DNA sequencer’s data belies its size
- 15 October 2015
A miniature DNA sequencing device that plugs into a laptop and was developed by Oxford Nanpore has been tested by an open, international consortium, including Oxford University researchers.
The results show that it provides good, repeatable results that can be just as useful as those provided by larger, more expensive devices.
The MinION is a handheld DNA-sequencing device developed by Oxford Nanopore, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford. The smallest high-throughput sequencing system currently available, the device can be plugged into any computer using a USB port, weighs just 90 grams and measures 10 centimetres in length. It works by detecting individual DNA bases that pass through a nanopore — a tiny hole in a membrane. When the DNA bases pass through or near the nanpore, they create a distinctive electrical current, allowing the device to read long DNA sequences in a way that is not possible on most other devices.