In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at the U.K.'s Oxford Nanopore Technologies say that they have discovered a way to accurately and continuously identify DNA bases using nanopores. Current methods rely upon expensive and complex fluorescent labeling, which requires costly optical imaging and instrumentation. The method described in Oxford Nanopore's research could dramatically improve the cost and speed of genome analysis--a breakthrough that could make genetic analysis a routine procedure for every person. Oxford Nanopore researchers also found that methylated cytosine can be distinguished from the four DNA bases using the same method, which could assist in the study of cancer.
"The science of nanopore DNA sensing is now accurate and reliable enough to support a breakthrough industrial technology," said Professor Hagan Bayley, founder of Oxford Nanopore and an author of the paper. "The simplicity and versatility of nanopores as a sensing system has intrigued academic researchers for nearly two decades. We anticipate that with the fast pace of the science, nanopore devices will soon be used for the measurement of DNA and many other molecules." The paper does not describe a prototype device to carry out this new form of sequencing.
Oxford Nanopore recently inked a deal with Illumina, which plans to offer whole-genome sequencing within two years for as little as $10,000.
- here's Oxford Nanopore's release
- see the article from BioIT World