On January 27, 2014, Quantum Biosystems, Inc., headquartered in Osaka, Japan, announced the release of raw data access to the first reads from its novel platform for electrical single-molecule DNA and RNA sequencing. The company released reads showing an accuracy of more than 99% in non-homopolymer regions and homopolymer indels at a rate of ~10%. This release allows researchers to evaluate the platform and engage in its validation and development. According to the company, this marks a major milestone in the single-molecule electrical sequencing of DNA. The work reported by Quantum Biosystems was completed using its breakthrough novel Quantum Sequencing platform (image). The platform allows the direct sequencing of single-stranded DNA and RNA without labeling or modification, on silicon devices that can be produced on the same production lines as consumer-grade integrated circuits. As the system uses no proteins or other reagents, it is potentially ultra-low cost, enabling consumer-level genome sequencing, according to the company. Based on research conducted at the University of Osaka, the Quantum Biosystems platform uses sub-nanometer gaps and picoamp-level currents to directly detect the conductance of single DNA and RNA molecules. This breakthrough in molecular sensing promises to bring about a fundamentally new class of sensors. Quantum Biosystems was formed in January of 2013 and is developing 4th-generation DNA and RNA sequencing systems for the low-cost and high-throughput analysis of whole genomes. While present systems require complicated sample preparation, and costly instruments, the Quantum Biosystems platform has no such barriers to entry and is well-positioned to bring about what some have called “the democratization of DNA sequencing,” Quantum Biosystems asserts.
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