Saturday, 18 February 2012

Incredible but true: a USB disposable Next generation Sequencer from Oxford Nanopore for less than $1000

Yesterday fireworks at AGBT: Oxford Nanopore Technologies presented two new products: the high-throughput GridION™ and the MinION™, a sequencer the size of a USB memory stick. Both will be commercially available by the end of 2012.
The MinION™ (see the picture above of the device connected to an Apple laptop :-) will cost between less the $900 per unit, and generate about 150 Mbp of sequence per hour for about six hours. Il will be connected via USB to a computer that will analyze the data (bases are streamed in real time in FASTQ format). Then you pull the MinION out and throw it away. A device of the size of a fat USB pen has (more or less) the productivity of an Ion Torrent with a 318 Chip. Moreover the DNA sample preparation is almost non-existent ("You add blood, and some buffer and some enzymes”) and the read length of the nanopore technology is (... have a seat, please) in the order of 20-50kb (yes, kilobases)!!! On the down side the accuracy is less than stellar: right now is around 96%, errors are deletions, error profile will improve through software.
Oxford Nanopore's GridION™ platform consists of a scalable network device - a node - designed for use with a consumable cartridge. Each cartridge is initially designed for real-time sequencing by 2,000 individual nanopores at any one time (Nanopore number will increase to 8,000 in early 2013). Nodes may be clustered in a similar way to computing devices, allowing users to increase the number of nanopore experiments being conducted at any one time if a faster time-to-result is required. A 20-node installation using an 8,000 nanopore configuration would be expected to deliver a complete human genome in 15 minutes. Sigh.

The future is now... no, actually, the future was yesterday at the AGBT.

On the "Pathogens: Genes and Genomes" blog you can read an exclusive interview with Oxford Nanopore’s Dan Turner (Director of Applications), Clive Brown (Chief Technical Officer) and Zoe McDougall (Director of Comms).

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