The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

• DNA decoder in the form of USB-flash

In the UK, it created the tiniest automatic decryption of the genome in the world. It will appear on the shelves this year, and - with an attractive price tag. A company he will be no less interesting DNA analyzer, a prisoner in the server.

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

The company Oxford Nanopore Technologies has introduced a miniature disposable determinant sequence of bases in the DNA molecule - MinION.

Fully autonomous priborchik size slightly larger memory flash drives, connected to USB-port of a laptop or PC. It contains all the elements needed for a complete genome sequencing: mikropotokovye system, unique sensors and specialized electronics.

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

The accuracy of the beginner - level sequencing of existing systems, device creators claim.

The device produces a direct reading of the "letters" of DNA in real-time reflect them on the screen, as well as the records in the computer's memory.

Researchers can determine in advance how much information they need for the purpose of an experience, or a fragment of the genetic code, they are looking for and stop transcript from achieving the result, to quickly go to a new experiment.

Preparation of samples for MinION system also does not require much effort. The device operates with a double-stranded DNA, moreover it does not require pre-amplification.

In some cases the sensor can distinguish immediately molecule from the blood or serum sample, and sometimes may need a small pre-treatment mixture.

More interesting is that the device is MinION side project, born to create a larger, more powerful reusable system sequencing - GridION. Both use the same technology to decipher the genome, on which a group of biochemists from Britain and the United States worked for about 20 years (counting from the appearance of the bare idea). The mechanism is based on a polymer membrane with embedded nano-pores. This part of the device is obtained a combination of natural (proteins) and synthetic molecules.

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

Nanopores in the membrane are designed to pass a strictly defined molecule.

A specially developed enzyme solution was added to the sample, and picks up the DNA molecule sequentially pushes it through the pore is through a spinneret (see the figure above).

At this time, the pore is connected to an electronic circuit detects the electrical oscillations. According to their specific profile of each device calculates the last base pair, and with high accuracy even for very long fragments "molecule of life".

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

The protein nanopore membrane. After it goes ion current, which occur "disruption", which differ depending on the type passing through the "gate" molecules. By degree of deflection current electronics identifies basic DNA bases.

Unlike his fellow tiny GridION system is a sort of server-decoders complex (the company calls their nodes - GridION node).

Each node has a slot for a disposable cartridge. The latter comprises the entire set of reagents required for a complete analysis of DNA, and the actual chip analyzer with two thousand nanopores described above.

Node GridION node accurately measure ion currents inside the chip, decodes them and displays the result of sequencing. In parallel sequence the genetic code is recorded on an external hard drive or another computer (via USB or network). Over one day GridION node is able to issue tens of gigabytes on base sequence data in the studied DNA.

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

GridION unit can be configured to search not only the sample and DNA analysis, but also other molecules - scientist relevant proteins or, for example, explosive compounds.

Although the "server" GridION node is capable of operating as a standalone desktop equipment, the most striking result is achieved when several such devices are combined in a server rack (standard width of 19 inches) and act in concert, exchanging data directly during decoding.

(By the way, the dimensions and connectors GridION node correspond to the common server.)

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

for GridION cartridges.

The 2013 version is due out GridION node already in 8000 the nanopore, and it should work faster than the previous model.

According to the developers, 20 of these machines in a server rack will be able to decode the entire genome of a person in just 15 minutes.

Both devices, and GridION (the first version), and a striking Minion, is scheduled to release on the market in 2012. Manufacturer intends to establish a competitive price, in comparison with the latest technologies of high-speed decoding of the genome.

In particular, the "DNA sequencer - flash" will cost less than $ 900.

The decoder of DNA in the form of USB-flash drive

"Server" GridION node and a set of nodes in the server rack. One GridION node consumes less than 50 watts of power, the company emphasizes one of the advantages of the device.

Here we must remember that a little over a year ago the US company Life Technologies introduced a desktop personal genome decryption Personal Genome Machine, worth at least $ 100 thousand. The principle primononny in it differs from GridION technology, but there are common: for automated sequencing, scientists also have developed a microchip that combines electronics with chemistry.

In January 2012, Life Technologies (or rather, its subsidiary company Ion Torrent) showed its new model decoder genome called Ion Proton. This machine is already estimated at $ 149,000, but the chip analyzer, hiding inside, is 1,000 times more powerful than the previous sample.

Apparatus Ion Proton is able to read the full human genome in a day at a cost of "consumables" $ 1,000.

All of these devices should be eliminated, as the scientists say, one of the bottlenecks in a number of biological and medical research - a slow decoding of the genome.

Now, this task can take on a relatively small laboratory, and in the case of decryption, flash drives can be said that the DNA decoding technology is on the verge of coming almost every home, just as the sugar content now people independently analyzed blood.