Thursday, 28 April 2016

spock is not impressed with your handheld genetic sequencer

I am nonetheless with this achievement of miniaturisation that The Atlantic expertly presents first through the driver of much innovation, pushing our envelop out of necessity, positing how residents of the International Space Station could properly diagnose their ailments and turn to an effective treatment. Many have a weakness for antibiotics to remedy those bouts that masquerade in all those unremarkable symptoms that could be bacterial or viral.
Given the limits of the dispensary, it would be unwise to pursue the wrong plan, so enter the hand-held DNA sequencer dubbed MinION from Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Within the laboratory bulky and delicate, such a device had heretofore been impractical in orbit but could now provide vital information about how pathogens and contagious agents function in microgravity and in close-quarters. The article ponders then the perhaps apocryphal, the stuff of urban-legend, scanning might reveal whose dog is despoiling one’s garden or the walkers who fail to attend to their charges’ business properly might become a civic duty. Beyond forensics, the potential, however, for crowd-sourced research is beyond all bounds—equipped with tricorders, we become minions, legion, and like medicine men or witch-doctors examining our surroundings and finding unique organic compounds and novel interactions.