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Mountainside Sequencing

Researchers were able to sequence entire plant genomes on a Welsh mountainside within hours, UPI reports.

"This research proves that we can now rapidly read the DNA sequence of an organism to identify it with minimum equipment," says first author Joe Parker from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK in a statement. "Rapidly reading DNA anywhere, at will, should become a routine step in many research fields."

As they write in Scientific Reports, Parker and his colleagues used Oxford Nanopore Technologies' MinIon to sequence and identify Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea from a site within Snowdonia National Park. They report that the samples were collected and sequenced in a single day in an "al fresco" laboratory. They compared randomly selected portions of the plants' genomes to a reference database to discover to which species they belonged.

"Identifying species correctly based on what they look like can be really tricky and needs expertise to be done well. This is especially true for plants when they aren't in flower or when they have been processed into a product," adds senior author Alexander Papadopulos from Kew. "Our experiments show that by sequencing random pieces of the genome in the field it's possible to get very accurate species identification within a few hours of collecting a specimen."