Friday, January 4, 2013

New Technology Will Make DNA Sequencing Affordable

By Jennifer Welsh and the Business Insider website

Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, researchers have been striving to make this laborious task cheaper and easier.

Genomes, and the DNA they are made of, are critically important to every piece of life on Earth. Differences in the sequence of DNA letters that make up an organism's genome are what makes a fir tree a fir tree and not a platypus. These DNA letters form genes — which are translated by cellular machinery to make proteins and other products that make up the majority of structures in a cell, and therefore the majority of things in a person, animal, plant or even bacteria.

Studying how different DNA codes translate to different proteins is important in clinical settings, as well as in research laboratories in almost every different sector of scientific research.

A company called Oxford Nanopore Technologies is about to release a set of technologies that could make reading this code quicker and easier. They are called the GridION and MinION systems, and could herald in a next generation of DNA sequencing on the cheap.

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