A British company, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, have unveiled their latest product – a cheap, portable, disposable DNA sequencer called the “MinION”.
DNA sequencing has been around since the 1970s. It was used in the Human Genome Project. Until recently, it was extremely expensive and time-consuming. Like Moore’s Law and other trends in information technology, however, its price performance and efficiency have been growing exponentially.
The MinION is the size and form factor of a thumb drive, and powered by a USB port. It can sequence 150 million base pairs in just six hours, using the computer’s own CPU to process the data, and costs just $900 (£570).
This portable device could allow doctors to sequence genes at a patient’s bedside, wildlife biologists to study genes in the field, or food inspectors to identify pathogens, among many other uses.
You can read more at the company’s website.