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MinION Nanopore Sequencing Accelerates Progress towards Ubiquitous Genetics in Water Research

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David WernerORCiD, Dr Kishor Acharya, Adrian Blackburn, Dr Rixia ZanORCiD, Dr Aom Plaimart, Dr Ben Allen, Dr Shaaban Mgana



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors. In 2014, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) introduced an affordable and portable sequencer called MinION. We reviewed emerging applications in water research and assessed progress made with this platform towards ubiquitous genetics. With >99% savings in upfront costs as compared to conventional platforms, the MinION put sequencing capacity into the hands of many researchers and enabled novel applications with diverse remits, including in countries without universal access to safe water and sanitation. However, to realize the MinION’s fabled portability, all the auxiliary equipment items for biomass concentration, genetic material extraction, cleanup, quantification, and sequencing library preparation also need to be lightweight and affordable. Only a few studies demonstrated fully portable workflows by using the MinION onboard a diving vessel, an oceanographic research ship, and at sewage treatment works. Lower nanopore sequencing read accuracy as compared to alternative platforms currently hinders MinION applications beyond research, and inclusion of positive and negative controls should become standard practice. ONT’s EPI2ME platform is a major step towards user-friendly bioinformatics. However, no consensus has yet emerged regarding the most appropriate bioinformatic pipeline, which hinders intercomparison of study results. Processing, storing, and interpreting large data sets remains a major challenge for ubiquitous genetics and democratizing sequencing applications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Werner D, Acharya K, Blackburn A, Zan R, Plaimart J, Allen B, Mgana SM, Sabai SM, Halla FF, Massawa SM, Haile AT, Hiruy AM, Mohammed J, Vinitnantharat S, Thongsamer T, Pantha K, Mota Filho CR, Lopes BC

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water

Year: 2022

Volume: 14

Issue: 16

Online publication date: 12/08/2022

Acceptance date: 10/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4441

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/w14162491