Nanotechnology and nanopore sequencing

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DNA is the hereditary material in our cells and contains the instructions for them to live, behave, grow, and develop. These instructions are based on the order of the DNA bases, called nucleotides. To unlock the instructions, carried by a DNA molecule, we need to read these nucleotide sequences (by performing DNA sequencing). There are various methods for sequencing DNA, including Sanger sequencing, Illumina, 454, Ion Torrent sequencing, SMRT sequencing (Pacific Biosciences), and Nanopore sequencing.

Nanopore sequencing is a modern and promising technique, in which many researchers are interested. This method benefits from the potential advantages of label-free sequencing as well as the long reads, both of which help in easing the sequencing requirements. In this method, the DNA zips through a tiny pore (nanopore) in a membrane. Each nucleotide which passes through the nanopore results in a unique characteristic change, uncovering the sequence of the biomolecule. Analyzing the DNA, directly taken from the cell, as opposed to synthesized molecules, is another advantage of this method, enhancing the sequencing accuracy.

Nanopore sequencing methods are based on two types of nanopores: (1) solid-state nanopores, and (2) protein-based nanopores. In a review published in the journal, Recent Patents on Nanotechnology, by Roozbeh Abedini-Nassab, recent advances presented in various articles and patents in the field of solid state nanopore sequencing, including sequencing methods, membrane materials and their fabrication techniques, drilling methods, and biomolecule translocation speed control ideas are investigated. This review shows how nanotechnology is helping in revealing crucial biological information, which can be used later in solving problems in biological research.

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Reference: Abedini-Nassab, R.; (2017). Nanotechnology and Nanopore Sequencing. Recent Patents on Nanotechnology., DOI: 10.2174/1872210510666160602152913

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