What is Oxford Nanopore Sequencing?
Oxford Nanopore sequencing is a new type of sequencing technology that operates very differently from
traditional Illumina sequencing. While Illumina sequencing uses a sequencing by synthesis method to
read sequences, Oxford Nanopore chips possess thousands of protein nanopores with a processive DNA
unwinding enzyme sitting at the entrance of the pore. This enzyme passes the DNA through the
nanopore, passing through an ionic current near the aperture of the nanopore. Each of the different
bases causes a distinctive disruption in the current that can measured, letting us identify which
base is passing through the membrane.
What can it be used for?
There are two major advantages to using nanopore sequencing: decreased turnaround time and increased
read length. Nanopore sequencing can be done in real-time, making it very useful for researchers who
need results immediately, such as pathologists who need to identify a disease-causing pathogen.
Additionally, nanopore sequencing makes it possible to sequence extremely long segments of DNA,
especially compared to Illumina sequencing. Because Illumina sequencing can only result in read
lengths of up to 300 bp, de novo genome assembly is often a challenge and is virtually
impossible in some areas of the genome (such as highly repetitive areas). On the other hand, Oxford
Nanopore sequencing can result in read lengths of up to a few hundred thousand base pairs. Assembly
quality can be greatly improved by using a combination of nanopore and Illumina sequencing
What are the available technologies?
The MinION: a pocket sized, portable device that can sequence 10 - 20 Gb in
The GridION: can run and analyze 5 MinION flow cells; offers real-time, long-read,
high-fidelity DNA and RNA sequencing of up to 100 Gb.
The PromethION: runs the same type of sequencing as the MinION and GridION but at a
much larger scale, with a potential to yield up to 12 Tb in 48 hours for the whole device.
If you're interested in Oxford Nanopore sequencing services, please send us a quick email at
and tell us about your project. We can help you define the scope of the project and quickly get you
one or more quote(s) from our network of partnering service providers.