The Atlantic: a sequencer in every pocket

Ed Yong at the Atlantic writes on numerous applications of the MinION handheld DNA sequencer.

“Aboard the International Space Station, six people are currently orbiting the planet at 17,000 miles per hour, taking in fifteen sunrises and sunsets every day. The view is unbeatable; the floating sensation, sublime.

But good luck to them if they get sick.

There’s nothing on board the ISS that can definitively diagnose a disease, or identify the microbes behind it. Instead, sick astronauts have to settle for describing their symptoms to medical staff on the ground. They have no way of knowing for sure if their disease is bacterial, viral, or something else, or if raiding the station’s finite supply of antibiotics would do them any good.

If an astronaut could decipher …”

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