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The most extensive and detailed human genome sequence yet has been assembled using a hand-held device roughly the size of a cell phone.

An international team of scientists working at a lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz, created a portable nanopore sequencer that not only used DNA fragments hundreds of times longer than is standard, but closed 12 gaps in the known human genome, according to a UCSC press release. That makes the human genome it assembled the most complete one ever created to date. A paper describing the research was published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology.

The sequencer works by identifying changes in the flow of individual molecules of DNA when they pass through a microscopic membrane hole known as a nanopore. The device can read one million letters of DNA at a time, and has now been used to sequence a human individual’s entire genome, according to New Scientist.

 

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