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Emerging Technologies > Genia
Genia is an early stage nanopore sequencing company founded in 2009 and partially funded by Life Technologies. What sets them apart is their use of, and expertise in, analog-to-digital sensors on integrated circuits, which they say offer several advantages over the ‘passive’ chips of other nanopore sequencing companies: increased sensitivity, dynamic creation of the lipid bilayer with one pore per sensor, and independent active control over each of the sensors. The active control is especially attractive as it will allow for the control over the speed at which the DNA molecule travels through the pore, as well as the direction. This will allow for individual molecules to be sequenced and resequenced as many times as is necessary to achieve the desired accuracy rate.
The process of running the chip will start with the creation of a series of lipid bilayers across the surface of the chip, one for each sensor. Next, a single nanopore is introduced into each bilayer, ensuring that each sensor is associated with one and only one nanopore. This process of assembling the sensor-bilayer-nanopore complex is controlled automatically by the electronics of the chip. The DNA sample is then added to the chip and a current is applied which drives the DNA molecules through the pores at the rate of about 1 base/second. The change in electrical charge caused by the individual bases is read directly by the integrated circuit of the chip.
Genia started testing their alpha chip, which contains ~200 independent sensors, in early 2012. Although they haven’t released a development timeline, they intend to create a beta chip for early access/external testing that will have ~10k sensors. By the time they’re ready to commercially launch the system, they hope to have a chip with ~1M sensors. While they haven’t released exactly how much it will cost to sequence a Gb of DNA, they are shooting for an instrument that costs ~$1000 and disposable chips that cost ~$100. They anticipate that their initial markets will be in targeted DNA sequencing and diagnostic applications.
Status: alpha testing (beta testing to start by end of 2012)
Projected commercial availability: 2013
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