What's the Latest Development?

Gene sequencing, which has the potential to create personalized medicine, is getting smaller, faster and cheaper. The latest development comes from a British company which will release a DNA sequencing device the size of a USB memory stick and plug into a laptop computer to deliver its sequencing results. The sequencer works by using a technique called nanopore sequencing, which analyzes a strand of DNA by pulling it through a microscopic hole. The device is expected to cost less than $900, allowing researchers greater access.

What's the Big Idea?

Sequencing DNA involves determining the order of its chemical constituents, which in turn determine inherited traits, like susceptibility to some diseases. The size and cost of the sequencing stick will help to move DNA analysis from the research laboratory into patient care, further paving the way for the development of personalized medicine. "It might also help doctors to sequence genes at a patient's bedside, wildlife biologists to study genes in the field, or food inspectors to identify pathogens."

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