PathoGenetix (formerly US Genomics) is developing an instrument for the rapid identification of microbial species (with other applications to follow later). Their system, which is projected to cost ~$150k and consume $25 to $50 in reagents per sample, will be based on their ‘genome sequencing scanning’ (GSS) technology. Rather than sequencing individual bases, the system works by measuring the location of species-specific probes within the microbial genome.
Samples are prepared by enzymatically digesting the DNA into large fragments, generally between 60kb and 350kb. The entire length of the molecule hyridized with two different strain-specific 8-mer probes, one labeled green and the other labeled red. The sample is then applied to a microfluidic chip where the DNA fragments are stretched out and passed by a detector at the rate of 150Mb/second. Over a runtime of ~3.5 hours, the system will identify the strain by the unique spatial pattern of red and green probes along the length of the fragments. Over time, PathoGenetix will update their database, allowing for the detection of ever more microbial strains.
Projected Commercial Availability: Q3 of 2014
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