Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

New Technology Could Slash Sequencing Time

Published: Monday, December 20, 2010
Last Updated: Monday, December 20, 2010
Bookmark and Share
Scientists from Imperial College London are developing technology that could ultimately sequence a person's genome in mere minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current commercial techniques.

The researchers have patented an early prototype technology that they believe could lead to an ultrafast commercial DNA sequencing tool within ten years. Their work is described in a study published this month in the journal 'Nano Letters' and it is supported by the Wellcome Trust Translational Award and the Corrigan Foundation.

The research suggests that scientists could eventually sequence an entire genome in a single lab procedure, whereas at present it can only be sequenced after being broken into pieces in a highly complex and time-consuming process. Fast and inexpensive genome sequencing could allow ordinary people to unlock the secrets of their own DNA, revealing their personal susceptibility to diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer. Medical professionals are already using genome sequencing to understand population-wide health issues and research ways to tailor individualised treatments or preventions.

Dr Joshua Edel, one of the authors on the study from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, said: "Compared with current technology, this device could lead to much cheaper sequencing: just a few dollars, compared with $1m to sequence an entire genome in 2007. We haven't tried it on a whole genome yet but our initial experiments suggest that you could theoretically do a complete scan of the 3,165 million bases in the human genome within minutes, providing huge benefits for medical tests, or DNA profiles for police and security work. It should be significantly faster and more reliable, and would be easy to scale up to create a device with the capacity to read up to 10 million bases per second, versus the typical 10 bases per second you get with the present day single molecule real-time techniques."

In the new study, the researchers demonstrated that it is possible to propel a DNA strand at high speed through a tiny 50 nanometre (nm) hole - or nanopore - cut in a silicon chip, using an electrical charge. As the strand emerges from the back of the chip, its coding sequence (bases A, C, T or G) is read by a 'tunnelling electrode junction'. This 2 nm gap between two wires supports an electrical current that interacts with the distinct electrical signal from each base code. A powerful computer can then interpret the base code's  signal to construct the genome sequence, making it possible to combine all these well-documented techniques for the first time.

Sequencing using nanopores has long been considered the next big development for DNA technology, thanks to its potential for high speed and high-capacity sequencing. However, designs for an accurate and fast reader have not been demonstrated until now.

Co-author Dr Emanuele Instuli, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, explained the challenges they faced in this research: "Getting the DNA strand through the nanopore is a bit like sucking up spaghetti. Until now it has been difficult to precisely align the junction and the nanopore. Furthermore, engineering the electrode wires with such dimensions approaches the atomic scale and is effectively at the limit of existing instrumentation. However in this experiment we were able to make two tiny platinum wires into an electrode junction with a gap sufficiently small to allow the electron current to flow between them."

This technology would have several distinct advantages over current techniques, according to co-author, Aleksandar Ivanov from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London: "Nanopore sequencing would be a fast, simple procedure, unlike available commercial methods, which require time-consuming and destructive chemical processes to break down and replicate small sections of the DNA molecules to determine their sequence. Additionally, these silicon chips are incredibly durable compared with some of the more delicate materials currently used. They can be handled, washed and reused many times over without degrading their performance."

Dr Tim Albrecht, another author on the study, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, says: "The next step will be to differentiate between different DNA samples and, ultimately, between individual bases within the DNA strand (ie true sequencing). I think we know the way forward, but it is a challenging project and we have to make many more incremental steps before our vision can be realised."


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Breakthrough Could Lead to New Antibiotics
Scientists have exposed a chink in the armour of disease-causing bugs, with a new discovery about a protein that controls bacterial defences.
Friday, August 21, 2015
New Drug Target Identified for Serious Heart and Lung Condition
A gene has been identified that sheds new light on a potentially fatal heart and lung condition and could lead to a new treatment.
Friday, August 14, 2015
New Genetic Form of Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
New Genetic Form of Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
New 'Systems Genetics' Study Identifies Possible Target For Epilepsy Treatment
A single gene that coordinates a network of about 400 genes involved in epilepsy could be a target for new treatments, according to research.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Biomarker Discovery Sheds New Light on Heart Attack Risk of Arthritis Drugs
Drug may be given a new lease of life.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Genetic Discovery Could Aid Diagnosis of Childhood TB
A distinctive genetic 'signature' found in the blood of children with TB offers new hope for improved diagnosis of the disease.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Body Clock Receptor Linked to Diabetes in New Genetic Study
Study found that people who carry rare genetic mutations in the receptor for melatonin have higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Swine Flu: Early Findings about Pandemic Potential Reported in new Study
Early findings about the emerging pandemic of a new strain of influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico published in Science.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Study Suggests Listening to Pleasant Music Could Help Restore Vision in Stroke Patients
Patients who have lost part of their visual awareness following a stroke can show an improved ability to see when they are listening to music they like, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Schizophrenia Linked to Signaling Problems in New Brain Study
The study supports the theory that abnormalities in the way in which cells 'talk' to each other are involved in the disease.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
HIV Treatment Test Closer to Manufacture with new $7.3 Million Grant
The CD4 Initiative will use the grant received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop a point-of-care test for HIV/AIDS patients.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Alzheimer's Disease Patients Show Improvement in Trial of new Drug
A new drug has been shown to improve the brain function of Alzheimer's patients and reduce a key protein associated with the disease in the spinal fluid.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Breast Cancer Researchers Call for Ethnicity to be Taken into Account When Developing Treatments
Breast cancer research needs to investigate how a person's ethnicity influences their response to treatment and its outcome, Imperial researchers say.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Gene Sequence that can make Half of us Fatter is Discovered
Researchers have found a gene sequence linked to an expanding waist line, weight gain and a tendency to develop type 2 diabetes.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Scientific News
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Growing Hepatitis C in the Lab
Recent discovery allows study of naturally occurring forms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the lab.
Signature of Microbiomes Linked to Schizophrenia
Studying microbiomes in throat may help identify causes and treatments of brain disorder.
Study Identifies the Off Switch for Biofilm Formation
New discovery could help prevent the formation of infectious bacterial films on hospital equipment.
Genetic Overlapping in Multiple Autoimmune Diseases May Suggest Common Therapies
CHOP genomics expert leads analysis of genetic architecture, with eye on repurposing existing drugs.
Fat in the Family?
Study could lead to therapeutics that boost metabolism.
Combo Tool
Joining molecular components expands ability to manipulate genes in specific cell types.
Team Identifies Structure of Tumor-Suppressing Protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.
Genes Associated With Improved Survival for Pancreatic Cancer Patients
Use of non-invasive liquid biopsies could predict in which patients the cancer could recur following surgery.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!