Innovation That Matters

Miniature USB device can sequence DNA

Sport & Fitness

MinION is a new DNA sequencer that's the size of a USB memory stick.

If there are portable, diminutive devices designed to quickly diagnose infertility, HIV, melanoma and malaria, then why not to sequence DNA as well? Sure enough, UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies recently debuted the MinION, a new sequencer that’s just the size of a USB memory stick. The MinION is a disposable device that contains the sensor chip, ASIC and nanopores needed to perform a complete single-molecule sensing experiment. When plugged directly into the USB port of a laptop or desktop computer, the MinION can perform DNA sequencing as well as protein sensing and other nanopore sensing techniques. The system is designed to be compatible with complex samples such as blood or serum as well as environmental samples such as water from lakes and streams. Potential applications could include quick DNA analyses of biopsied cells to assess the risk of cancer, as a NewScientist report points out. The video below explains the MinION device in more detail:
With expected pricing below USD 900, the MinION is scheduled to be commercialized this year. Biotech entrepreneurs: one to get in on early? Spotted by: Raymond Neo



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