15th May 2015 - London Calling Presentation
Until today, the investigation of the biological diversity of many parts of the world has been obstructed by the inability to perform field based DNA analysis, especially in those regions where the biological richness is higher, like the countries in the inter-tropical area. Some years ago, Edward Osborne Wilson wrote that the possibility to sequence the DNA of organisms in the most remote places of the planet, making possible the identification of any organism, one day will allow a sensational step ahead in the study of biodiversity. On May 4th, 2015 a team of Italian researchers performed the first genetic tests on the slopes of an extinct volcano in the forests of southern Tanzania, making Wilson’s dream a reality. Using the MinION device, they sequenced the DNA of a wild frog species and transmitted the raw data via a standard smartphone to Oxford Nanopores cloud based application, Metrichor. Metrichor performed a custom automated workflow that allowed the team in Tanzania to determine in real time the identification of the species of frog that they had just sequenced. The data was simultaneously sent to their colleagues at the MUSE of Trento where they were able to participate in the discovery.