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A cheap, portable and disposable DNA sequencer

February 24, 2012

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.

 

The MinION (click to enlarge)

 

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