In the Journals

Novel, cheap DNA sequencer identified S. typhi resistance

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December 21, 2014

A novel nanopore DNA sequencer could rapidly diagnose infection at a greatly reduced price, according to recent data.

Researchers tested the ability of the MinION device (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) to determine antibiotic resistance in a strain of Salmonella typhi. The new technology was able to produce long sequencing reads without the use of optimal imaging, pinpointing the exact location of the resistance gene within 18 hours, according to a press release.

“This analysis would previously have taken months using traditional methods, due to extensive post-sequencing lab-based analysis,” Justin O’Grady, PhD, of University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said in the release. “By the time the results are available, they might well be irrelevant for clinical diagnostics and guiding public health interventions.”

Along with its speed, the device is more accessible than most current technology. The device is the size of a USB thumbdrive, and its manufacturers expect production cost to be about $1,020 per unit. Current technology for traditional reads costs about $782,000 per unit, the release said.

Figure 1. New nanopore DNA sequencing techology on a device the size of a USB stick could be used to diagnose infection.

Source:Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd

“Public health and clinical laboratories could soon have easy access to this rapid, cheap technology which, in combination with short read sequencing, is capable of providing fully assembled bacterial genomes,” O’Grady said. “Further improvements to the system are likely to remove the need for short read sequence data.”

Disclosure: O’Grady is a participant of Oxford Nanopore’s MinION Access Program and received the MinION device and flowcells used in the study without cost.

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