Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The gene sequencing that everyone can afford in future

DNA sequencing seems to be an eternal theme for human due to the desire of ascertaining the nature of life.

Professor QIAN Linmao and his group from Tribology Research Institute, Southwest Jiaotong University were working on the optimization of the third-generation sequencing technique based on nanopore.

This is a typical nanopore sequencing process.

Credit: ©Science China Press

They found that long chain DNA with low salt concentration is more conducive to the nanopore sequencing process. Their work, entitled "Effect of chain length on the conformation and friction behaviour of DNA", was published in SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences. 2013, Vol 56(12).

When Watson and Crick proposed the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, a significant era was opened for a new stage of the life sciences. Since the detection of DNA sequence can help people prevent and treat many genetic diseases, DNA sequencing technology has been one of the important means of modern biological research. The first-generation sequencing was proposed in the 1970s, by which it took more than 10 years and $1 billion to complete the Human Genome Project.

In 2005, the second-generation sequencing technology was developed, by which the sequencing period for individual human genome could be reduced to be only 1 week. In recent years, the third-generation sequencing based on nanopore has been widespread concerned as a potential candidate for achieving the ''$1000 genome'' goal set by the US National Institutes of Health.

In a typical nanopore sequencing process, when a DNA molecule passes through a nanopore, a characteristic blockade ionic current can be detected to determine the information of the DNA molecule (shown in the image). It exhibits many advantages, such as accurate, rapid, low-cost and so on. Nevertheless, there are several challenges in nanopore sequencing. For example, the coiled conformation of a DNA molecule makes it difficult for one end of a DNA molecule to reach into a nanopore, and the high translocation speed made it extremely difficult to distinguish the desired current signal. Therefore, it is essential to slove the problem and improve the nanopore sequencing technique.

In August 2013, Professor Qian and his team reported that, low salt concentration is more conducive to the sequencing process, since it can not only make DNA molecules easier to reach into nanopore through extended conformation, but also reduce the passage rate by high friction between DNA molecule and the wall of nanopore. In the present study, the team confirmed that, with the increase of chain length, the DNA molecule became more extended, which can make DNA molecules reach into and pass through the nanopore readily. Additionally, the effect of chain length on the friction of DNA was insignificant under low normal load which indicated that the nanopore sequencing technique was not restricted by the chain length of DNA molecules. In summary, long chain DNA with low salt concentration is more conducive to the third-generation sequencing technique based on nanopore and the expectation of longer reads could be realized in the future.

"In the future, everyone could afford to carry out their own gene sequencing," Qian says, "Based on our results, the nanopore sequencing technique is not restricted by the chain length of DNA molecules. It may improve the efficiency of sequencing, which means that the cost of gene sequencing could be further reduced."

On the strength of these findings, the researchers are beginning an extensive project to optimize the parameters in the third-generation sequencing. The results will benefit the development of third-generation sequencing, but the benefits will likely extend further, Qian says.

"There is much more beyond optimization of the nanopore sequencing," Qian says, "A lot of basic research needs to be done and we will work on it."

Corresponding AuthorF

QIAN Linmao
See the article: Wang M, Cui S X, Yun B J, Qian L M. Effect of chain length on the conformation and friction behaviour of DNA. SCI CHINA Tech Sci, 2013 Vol. 56 (12): 2927-2933

Science China Press Co., Ltd. (SCP) is a scientific journal publishing company of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). For 50 years, SCP takes its mission to present to the world the best achievements by Chinese scientists on various fields of natural sciences researches.

YAN Bei | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>