USB stick can sequence DNA in seconds

DNA sequencing is an extremely important tool in the fields of Genetics and Molecular BiologyThis article explains the complicated process quite well.

I actually used to work at a genetics lab and we used to be able to sequence about 70,000 base pairs of DNA in about 8 hours using big machines. It was pretty fast! But that was over 10 years ago …

Now, this may look like an ordinary USB memory stick, but a little gadget that can sequence DNA while plugged into your laptop could have far-reaching effects on medicine and genetic research.

The UK firm Oxford Nanopore built the device, called MinION, and claims it can sequence simple genomes – like those of some viruses and bacteria – in a matter of seconds. More complex genomes would take longer, but MinION could also be useful for obtaining quick results in sequencing DNA from cells in a biopsy to look for cancer, for example, or to determine the genetic identity of bone fragments at an archaeological dig. Learn more here.

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