October 17, 2012

Nanopore sequencing will be the winning approach to DNA Sequencing

I spoke with Michael Andregg, co-founder of Halcyon Molecular at the recent Singularity Summit.

Michael indicated that Halcyon is continuing but with as several companies that focus on leveraging the different capabilities that have been developed.

He indicated that the Oxford Nanopore Technology development earlier this year shows that DNA nanopore sequencing will be the winner in the DNA sequencing wars. Oxford may or may not win. Other companies and countries could converge on nanopore methods but that nanopore is the winning approach to DNA Sequencing.

Although ultimately DNA nanopore sequencing will drive the cost for genome sequencing down to $10-100 or even less, the actual price that different users will have to pay will vary depending upon the market and situation.

Some Background on Halcyon
Founded by Andregg brothers in 2008, their plan "developing a way to sequence the human genome...faster and cheaper than ever before" as a step to "turning biology into an information science".


There is a recent analysis, which describes continuing technical hurdles for Nanopore sequencing

The claim that nanopore technology is on the verge of making DNA analysis so fast and cheap that a person’s entire genome could be sequenced in just minutes and at a fraction of the cost of available commercial methods, has resulted in overwhelming academic, industrial, and global interest. But a review by Northeastern University physicist Meni Wanunu, published in a special issue on nanopore sequencing in Physics of Life Reviews, questions whether the remaining technical hurdles can be overcome to create a workable, easily produced commercial device.

Earlier this year Oxford Nanopore Technologies, one of the pioneering companies of sequencing discoveries, announced that they expect nanopore strand sequencing to achieve a 15-minute genome by 2014 at a cost of $1,500. This is a far cry from the $10 million it cost to sequence an entire genome just 5 years ago.




In a final comment on Wanunu's review, the founder and Director of Oxford Nanopore, Hagan Bayley, looks ahead to the future: "In the longer term, by using solid-state pores… it may be possible to read DNA sequences at microseconds rather than milliseconds per base. This could be done by using tunnelling currents or other characteristics of the DNA bases for which graphene—with its unusual electronic properties—might after additional development provide a superior substrate and in so doing deliver another massive leap forward on top of a decade of unprecedented progress."


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