First Reads from Nanopore Sequencers Becoming Public

June 11, 2014

By Bio-IT World Staff 

June 11, 2014 | This morning, a trio of U.K. researchers released what may be the first publicly available read from an Oxford Nanopore MinION Sequencer. Oxford Nanopore opened their early access program for the thumb drive-sized sequencers in November, and began distributing instruments earlier this year.

Nicholas Loman, Josh Quick, and Szymon Calus, who have previously collaborated on molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases, posted their MinION data on the data-sharing site figshare. The data show a single read from sequencing a sample of Psuedomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that is a frequent cause of hospital-related infections. While this single read is not very informative on its own, data like these will be analyzed and re-analyzed in coming months to help the genetics community get a sense of the MinION's reliability. Oxford Nanopore has previously shared data, at the Advances in Genome Biology & Technology conference this February, that suggested the MinION may produce non-random errors in certain genomic regions, which would make it difficult to get accurate data from the device even after repeated sequencing of a sample.

Nevertheless, the MinION has been highly anticipated, for its portability, ease of use, and for being the first instrument to market that uses nanopores to get long reads from single molecules. The P. aeruginosa read released today stretches to almost 9,000 bases, comparable to a read from a Pacific Biosciences SMRT Sequencer, the only long-read instrument now commercially available.