Last June, a British-Brazilian scientific team boarded a bus that had been
turned into a makeshift laboratory and
headed out to tour six cities across
The researchers were there to find
mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus
and sequence its genome in their blood,
A British company bets a hand-held analyzer
will change how we look at DNA.
By Antonio Regalado
since the evolution of the viral genome contains clues to the epidemic’s origins.
But rather than collect insects and send the samples back to a central lab, they’d
outfitted the bus with everything they needed to do the research. The most impor-
tant item: a DNA sequencer about the size and weight of a deck of cards that runs
off a laptop USB plug and costs just $1,000.
The instrument, called the MinION, works by pulling DNA through around 500
nanoscopic pores and reading it as it passes through by measuring an electrical
signal produced by each nucleotide, or DNA letter. Oxford Nanopore Technologies,