Oxford Nanopore MinION

MinION is a sequencer released by Oxford Nanopore Technologies in January 2015. It is based on Nanopore Sequencing.

MinION is available in the following models:
  • MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry
  • MinION with kit 12 chemistry
  • MinION with kit 14 chemistry


Manufacturer Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Technology Nanopore Sequencing
Release date January 2015
Price [2] $1,999
MSRP as of March 2024
Type Field
Weight 0.1 Kg
Supports real-time analysis Yes
Demultiplexing support Yes
File format FAST5
Read length Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry: typically 6-20 Kbp
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 12 chemistry: typically 6-20 Kbp
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 14 chemistry: typically 6-20 Kbp
Run time Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry: Up to 72 hours
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 12 chemistry: Up to 72 hours
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 14 chemistry: Up to 72 hours
Reagent cost per Gb [1] Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry: Unavailable
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 12 chemistry: Unavailable
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 14 chemistry: Unavailable
Data quality [3] Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry:
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 12 chemistry:
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 14 chemistry: > Q20 (99%) for Simplex reads, ~Q30 (99.9%) for Duplex reads
Maximum output per run (Gb)[4] Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 10/11 chemistry: 48.00
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 12 chemistry: 48.00
Oxford Nanopore MinION with kit 14 chemistry: 48.00
Primary error type [5] Indels
Notes about the specifications

  1. Cost per Gb: The cost per Gb is calculated by dividing the costs of sequencing reagents by the manufacturer’s maximum output per run. For these runs, the manufacturer may have included their own controls and used specific library preparation kits. Actual performance may vary based on sample and library type and quality, loading concentration, and other experimental factors. The sequencing reagent costs used for calculations do not include any other costs associated with preparing the samples or running the instrument, including reagents used for extraction, quality control or library preparation, labor, electricity, lab consumables, storage, etc. Performance metrics and prices are subject to change.
  2. Price: The final price may be different depending on the supplier, the region and any discounts provided through bulk orders or negotiation. Other factors that may influence the final price are warranty options, maintenance contracts, possible trade-ins of older instruments, and any financing arrangements chosen.
  3. Data quality: This is the maximum data quality that the instrument can offer based on manufacturer’s specifications and optimizations. The quality of a specific run will depend on multiple factors, including sample quality, sample quantity, library prep protocol, run conditions, etc.
  4. Maximum output: This is the maximum output of a full instrument run. This number is based on manufacturer’s specifications and optimizations.
  5. Primary error type: This is the most common type of error that may occur due to sequencing. Other types of error may occur as well.

More about the MinION

The MinION, developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) and released in 2015, is a portable, single-molecule sequencing device targeting researchers seeking a user-friendly platform for applications requiring real-time analysis or sequencing away from traditional laboratory facilities. Unlike its benchtop and high-throughput counterparts (GridION and PromethION), the MinION prioritizes portability and rapid turnaround times over massive data output.

Key Innovations

The MinION's core technology revolves around nanopores – microscopic protein channels embedded in a membrane. As a DNA strand traverses the pore, specific ionic current fluctuations occur based on the sequence.

  • Single-molecule sequencing: Unlike sequencing by synthesis (SBS) methods prevalent in Illumina platforms, the MinION directly reads native DNA molecules without amplification. This eliminates bias introduced during PCR and allows for detection of modifications like methylation.
  • Scalable pore architecture: The MinION flow cell houses up to 2,048 nanopores, enabling parallel sequencing of thousands of molecules simultaneously.

Features and Technologies

  • Read Length: While newer nanopore sequencing platforms boast longer read lengths, the MinION typically averages reads around a few thousand bases long, although longer can be achieved to even above 100 kb. These long read lengths are useful for applications like de novo assembly of small genomes or targeted amplicon sequencing.
  • Data Quality: Base calling accuracy (percentage of correctly identified bases) for the MinION is typically lower than Illumina sequencing at > Q20 (99%) for Simplex reads. However, continuous improvements in base caller algorithms and nanopore design are steadily bridging this gap.

Intended Uses and Specific Applications

  • Real-time Outbreak Surveillance: The portability of the MinION allows for rapid on-site sequencing of pathogens during outbreaks, facilitating faster identification and characterization. A suitable library prep kit would be the Nanopore Rapid Sequencing Kit.
  • Metagenomic Analysis: The portability makes the MinION is a valuable tool for studying microbial communities in environmental samples that cannot be easily transported to a lab. The Nanopore Ligation Sequencing Kit is an example of a suitable kit.
  • Epigenetics: Direct detection of DNA modifications like methylation is possible due to the single-molecule nature of nanopore sequencing. An example of a suitable library prep kit here would be the Nanopore Ligation Sequencing Kit.

Comparison with Competing Instruments

  • Oxford Nanopore Flongle: A low-cost, single-use version of a Nanopore flow cell, ideal for targeted sequencing projects requiring a rapid turnaround time. However, data output and typical read length are significantly lower compared to the MinION.
  • Oxford Nanopore GridION: A benchtop sequencer offering higher data output and longer read lengths compared to the MinION. GridION is better suited for larger-scale projects but lacks the portability advantage of the MinION.
  • PacBio Sequel II: Another popular long-read sequencing platform from Pacific Biosciences. Sequel II offers superior data quality and average read lengths (although not max read lengths) compared to the MinION. However, the Sequel II has a considerably higher upfront instrument cost and requires a dedicated laboratory environment due to its large footprint. It also cannot perform real-time analysis.

Special Considerations

Researchers may choose the MinION if their research requires:

  • Portability: The MinION is a compact and portable sequencer, making it ideal for field applications or resource-limited settings. Researchers can perform sequencing analyses in remote locations or even during outbreaks.
  • Real-time analysis: The MinION allows for real-time data generation and analysis, enabling faster decision-making and response times in critical situations.
  • Single-molecule sequencing: Unlike Illumina sequencing, the MinION directly reads native DNA molecules, eliminating amplification bias and enabling detection of epigenetic modifications.

Need sequencing done on a Oxford Nanopore MinION or a specific instrument? Tell us about your project here, and we'll connect you with a qualified provider.

This information on this page is up-to-date as of May 1, 2024 and based on the spec sheets published by the manufacturer.