Scientists sequenced the entire genome of a bacteria for the first time in 1995. It took 13 months to do. Nowadays you can do it with a gene slinger in a USB stick. Called MinION, scientists at Oxford Nanopore Technologies who built it says that the disposable device will be on sale later this year for $900.
It'll be an add on for doctors to carry in their lab coats, to help them identify viruses and diseases genes on the spot. Pretty brilliant. The USB device contains 5,000 genetic base pairs from viruses, and they even have a desktop version called GridION which is expected to complete next year and come with an entire human genome in just 15 minutes.
The Human Genome Project took 13 years and cost nearly $3 billion to do the same thing. The MinION on the other hand, eliminates the need to amplify the human genome that is broken up to tiny snippets. It does this by using an enzyme solution that binds to the end of each DNA strand. After that, an electric current sucks the enzymes and DNA into hundreds of 10-micrometer wells in a membrane at the bottom of the solution.
Doctors can use the thumb drive size genome sequencer to quickly do biopsy tissue samples for genetic mutations that indicate disease, or in any case, identify patogens like viruses.