This has to be the bioinformatics and genomics news of the day.

Genome sequencing typically features expensive big boxes connected to powerful workstations.

Here’s something the size of USB stick that is set to sell for between $US500-900. How long until DNA sequencing is commonplace?


There’s so much pouring out on ‘da intertubes’, as the slang goes. Below I have gathered some of the more informative early sources, feedback from twitter then articles.

My brief comments are in square brackets.

The original press release is available on the Nanopore company website.*

I’ve gotten the tweets below** from following the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting using the #AGBT hashtag.***

Update: Should have added – this is a one-use disposable device.

Twitter feedback

  • Chris Gunter @girlscientist: “Eric Green asks if MinION will work on Mac and PC — Brown says he is Mac user to applause from room. #AGBT” [Source - in fact the machine illustrated on the company website (above) is a Mac laptop.]
  • Chris Gunter @girlscientist: Brown: “we had a quick look at RNA” can be read directly with no need for cDNA, data look same as DNA. [Source - would be good to learn more about this, sounds a little tentative - ?]
  • David Schlesinger @djschlesinger: MiniION available second half of this year [Source]
  • The Assemblathon @assemblathon: I think one of the biggest wins from the @nanopore announcement is the promise of ‘transparent pricing’. I.e. all institutions pay the same [Source - May be partly an effect of move to a consumer model, as opposed to ‘exclusive research device’ - ?]
  • Nico R. @notSoJunkDNA: Amen ’@omespeak: Most commonly overheard snippet at #AGBT right now: ‘it is amazing, but we have to see it work in practice’’
  • Omespeak @omespeak: Wondering when we shall see real world data from Oxford Nanopore? #AGBT
  • Leonid Kruglyak @leonidkruglyak: Great problem to have: “how will 100kb+ reads change your research?” bit.ly/wKUHBT #AGBT
  • Keith Bradnam @kbradnam: Reactions to @nanopore news. Biologists: cheer. Bioinformaticians: groan. System admins: weep. #AGBT [I’m not so sure about the need for bioinformaticians to groan. More thoughts on this later, maybe - time permitting.]
  • Oxford Nanopore @nanopore: of course! RT @kbradnam: @nanopore release also reveals that MinION syncs with iTunes, acts as a 3G modem, and has a fresh lemon scent #AGBT [Well…]
  • [With my own tongue-in-cheek: No comments from BGI on this news yet!]

Articles with more details

From GenomeWebNews “Oxford Nanopore to Begin Selling Two Low-Cost DNA Strand Sequencing Instruments this Year” [More details are available for premium (paying) subscribers.]

Follow-up with details at Nature News


GenomeWebNews reports that “Shares of Sequencing Instrument Makers Fall as Oxford Nanopore Unveils Platforms” [Full-text to registered users only.]

The GenomesUnzipped blog has thoughts on ’Making sequencing simpler with nanopores’, their take on the new Oxford Nanopore machines.

@sujaik: Keith Robinson adds a dash of realism to the #nanopore #agbt gushiness :-) ’Oxford Nanopore doesn’t disappoint’ [Edited to include title of post linked to rather than link. That also has to be one of the more original twitter aliases I’ve seen to date.]


As a local aside, there was a local company (in Dunedin, New Zealand) developing a nanopore-based sequencing machine several years ago. I’ve no idea what happened to it.

* Curses on the designer who thinks a dark background is a good idea. Similarly the graphic for the device was presented at full 3000×2000 pixel, scaled rather than as a, say, 300×200 image linking to the full image.

** I’d re-work the formatting of the tweets, but the WordPress editor is showing it’s limitations again and I’m not willing to fight it. Sigh.

*** Excuse my not giving full sources for all tweets. You can, of course, (re)discover them yourselves by searching.