‘Field Kit’ launched by Oxford Nanopore, enabling shipping and storage of sequencing preparation kits without reliance on cold chain
Wed 16th January 2019
Our goal is to enable the analysis of any living thing, by any person, in any environment.
As part of that process we want to make it easier to send consumables and perform experiments in any location, whether in the lab or out in the field.
We are seeking to break a long history of life sciences’ dependence on a cold chain, which makes it harder to transport to remote areas or use sequencing technology outside specialised lab environments. As part of this we have now released our ‘Field Sequencing Kit’, enabling library preparation from genomic DNA in only ten minutes. The kit does not require cold packaging for transportation, or refrigeration when used within a month. It contains lyophilised sequencing chemistry and needs minimal laboratory equipment to prepare a library, with users having successfully prepared samples with a pipette and a cup of hot coffee.
The kit is now available to order on the Store. The kit can be stored for up to one month at up to 30° C unopened, or at 2-8° C for three months unopened, and matches the newly released and improved packaging of MinION flow cells.
The field kit has already been tested in extreme environments, from the ice sheets of Greenland and Iceland to the jungle. As we develop kits to be successful in these challenging places, we believe that we can open up sequencing beyond traditional labs.
Environmental testing in Iceland
Sarah Johnson and her team from Georgetown University have employed the field kit in remote Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland. There, they used the technology to identify bacteria present in glacial soil and water samples. Within only 30 minutes of sample processing her team were able to obtain real-time sequencing information on the MinION:
“we were finally able to see our entire process laid out before us, in the field—from raw sample to analyzed data, in one shot. It was exhilarating and gratifying to see all of our efforts come together and give us information about our sample, and also about what experiments are possible in the field.”
Species analysis in Biodiversity hotspots
Massimo Delledonne of the University of Verona, and his collaborators at Taxon Expeditions (@Taxonexped), have used the field kit on scientific expeditions that seek to discover new species and understand the evolution and diversity of wildlife in various environments. Famous for naming a new species of water beetle after Leonardo DiCaprio, Taxon visits biodiversity hotspots such as Borneo, Montenegro and the Congo. The field kit was used on their last trip to Borneo in September 2018. In 2015, together with the Muse museum they used the MinION to sequence in-field for the first time, in 2016 Taxon were the first group to use nanopore technology to identify a new species of frog in the wild, and in 2017 they also tested the Oxford Nanopore automated preparation device VolTRAX.
Microbial diversity on the Greenland ice sheet
Experiencing subzero temperatures in a remote ice-camp on the Greenland Ice Sheet, Arwyn Edwards and colleagues have been testing the field kit for characterisation of microbial communities. With a state-of-the-art laptop capable of functioning down to -29 °C and nanopore flow cells being kept warm in his chest pocket, Arwyn’s team successfully performed DNA extraction and MinION sequencing of metagenomic libraries.
We continue to develop a range of solutions that will enable broader access to Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing technology. These include automated sample prep with VolTRAX, rapid low-cost testing with Flongle, rapid preconfigured analysis with MinIT, and the forthcoming MinION Mk1C that integrates screen, compute and MinION/Flongle. Our capital-free pricing models are also designed to open up access to sequencing.