MinIT, a rapid analysis and device control accessory for nanopore DNA sequencing, is now arriving with genomics researchers. Scientists will use it to run the MinION DNA/RNA sequencer, opening up high-throughput, real-time nanopore sequencing to more users in more locations.
MinIT is equipped with a state-of-the-art NVIDIA AGX system, to enable real-time, high-throughput data analysis. It is preconfigured with software for quick setup and easy operation of the MinION. The pocket sized MinIT is powered by mains or separately available battery packs, so that it can be used either in a lab environment or out in the field.
Since its introduction in 2014 and commercial launch in 2015, the volume of DNA sequence data produced by a single MinION Flow Cell has increased more than 100-fold. With the latest ˜Rev-D chip, released last week, users can generate as much as 30Gb of data with a single MinION Flow Cell, the equivalent of ~10X human genome.
At such high levels of data generation, powerful processing power is required to achieve the real time data analysis uniquely offered by nanopore sequencing technology. The MinIT, based on NVIDIA, is as much as 7X faster than a typical CPU based laptop and can be operated using a tablet or mobile phone. It can also be used alongside a less powerful laptop/computer.
The MinIT has been tested by scientists in the field, looking at:
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- Fighting viruses that destroy crops: Researchers in East Africa have used the MinIT and MinION to characterise pathogens affecting Cassava plants. Performing their experiments on a blanket, under a tree on a smallholding farm in Tanzania, the team characterised viruses responsible for cassava disease, from sample to answer in under three hours. This provides scientists and farmers with essential information when trying to fight plant pathogens to improve crop productivity.
- Marine research: This week, a cohort of 11 undergraduate students deployed the MinIT and MinION aboard a research vessel (Sikuliaq) in the Bering sea. They performed onboard analysis of seawater, examining communities of marine microorganisms. Getting real-time data during research expeditions that could last weeks or months will be useful to environmental scientists seeking to understand biodiversity in the ocean, and how climate change can affect microorganisms in the sea.
MinIT is compatible with MinION, and also Flongle “ an adapter for MinION that allows rapid, lower cost, smaller tests. Nanopore users have indicated that the MinIT will be used alongside MinION or Flongle in a variety of scenarios including rapid characterisation of infectious disease samples, cancer research, environmental analyses and food testing.
MinIT also comes preconfigured with software to run nanopore sequencing experiments, removing the need for configuration of a laptop. The instrument software MinKNOW, and real-time analysis platform for nanopore data, EPI2ME, can both be run on MinIT.