Lightweight Genome Reader, a Dream for every CSI Officer

Oh look! It’s a home genome sequencer! What does it do? It reads DNA, that’s what! But this time, it is done on a machine as big as a microwave right in the comfort of your home! Considering that it took hundreds of researchers to sequence the human genome, wouldn’t it be cool if you could map out anyone’s genetic profile, including yourself, without having to leave your bedroom.

The electronic sequencer, developed by Ion Torrent Systems, is able to read DNA on its semiconductor chip by measuring the release of hydrogen ions as nucleotides get incorporated by DNA polymerase. Each run, equal to “several hundred bases” in length, takes about an hour and costs less than US$500.

The device features a 9 by 9 millimeter semiconductor chip, which consists of an array of around 1.55 million wells measuring 3.5 micrometers each; an ion-sensitive layer beneath it; and an electronic sensor for every well.

The whole cost of this machine? About $50,000.

Source: CrunchGear

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