DNA Sequencing To Go• David Rotman 02/17/2012
Oxford Nanopore says it will begin selling by the end of the year a disposable DNA sequencer about the size of a USB memory stick that can be plugged directly into a laptop or desktop computer and used to perform a single-molecule sensing experiment. The device is expected to sell for $900, according to the company.
The company also unveiled a larger benchtop version of the technology. It says a configuration of 20 of the benchtop instruments could completely sequence a human genome in 15 minutes.
The technology is based on a radically different sequencing method that has been in the work for more than a decade at Oxford University, Harvard and the University of California, Santa Clara. DNA strands are pulled through nanopores embedded in a polymer. As the DNA passes through the nanopore, specific sequences are identified based on varying electronic signals from the different bases. As a result, the technology can read DNA sequences directly and continuously. The company says double-stranded DNA can be sensed directly from blood.