Direct RNA sequencing with the MinION: new paper (preprint)

Oxford Nanopore recently spoke about early work using the MinION and nanopore sensing to perform direct RNA sequencing. This is the first time this has been possible, without needing to make a cDNA strand or analysing the products of a synthesis reaction. Today, the applications and R&D groups at Oxford Nanopore published a pre print paper describing the method. We plan to release early developer kits for direct RNA sequencing in 2016 and are inviting registrations for this programme. Please register your interest here.

The abstract is below, or read the full paper here.

Ribonucleic acid sequencing can allow us to monitor the RNAs present in a sample. This enables us to detect the presence and nucleotide sequence of viruses, or to build a picture of how active transcriptional processes are changing – information that is useful for understanding the status and function of a sample. Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ sequencing technology is capable of electronically analysing a sample’s DNA directly, and in real-time. In this manuscript we demonstrate the ability of an array of nanopores to sequence RNA directly, and we apply it to a range of biological situations. Nanopore technology is the only available sequencing technology that can sequence RNA directly, rather than depending on reverse transcription and PCR. There are several potential advantages of this approach over other RNA-seq strategies, including the absence of amplification and reverse transcription biases, the ability to detect nucleotide analogues and the ability to generate full-length, strand-specific RNA sequences. Direct RNA sequencing is a completely new way of analysing the sequence of RNA samples and it will improve the ease and speed of RNA analysis, while yielding richer biological information.