Sequencing a person’s genome has until now required a well-equipped specialty lab. Now, the English company Oxford Nanopore has made a device the size of a cell phone that can do the same job.
The gadget draws a sample of DNA through a small pore in its surface. DNA is made up of a sequence of four protein biochemicals. As each biochemical passes through the pore, it sparks a unique electrical signal. The sequence of the signals is recorded, creating a unique DNA signature of the individual the sample came from.
This new technology could eventually allow physicians to quickly check for specific genetic abnormalities in newborns, take on-the-fly samples of cancer tumors to determine the most effective treatment, and even allow persons to read their own DNA information at home.
TRENDPOST: Although scientists know how to read and sequence DNA, they’re only beginning to understand how to translate abnormalities in a sequence into useful information. Advances such as the Nanopore Reader will make it easier, and therefore faster, for researchers and physicians to utilize the language of our genes.