Japanese Company Releases Data Indicating Fundamental Advance in Single-Molecule DNA and RNA Sequencing

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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