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New Pore and More

This post has been updated to reflect the Voltrax version number.

Clive Brown, Oxford Nanopore's chief technology officer, gave an update at a user meeting last week on what the company's been working on, particularly about its strategies to improve accuracy and a droplet-based sequencer it is developing. While the meeting was closed to media, a video of Brown's talk has since been posted to the company's website.

Oxford Nanopore has been developing a new pore, dubbed R10, in which it lengthened the region of sequence that the pore is measuring and focused it, according to Brown. This, he added, makes it better able to call "reasonably long" homopolymers, which had been a sticking point for the R9 pores. This new pore, he added, is to be available within a few weeks.

Brown also described a new base caller they've named Flappie, a label-free system that relies on a flip-flop algorithm. This, he said, allows for a jump in consensus calling and could call methyl-C in context. It is available at GitHub now, and replaces Scrappie, while the Guppy flip-flop will be available in December.

He also highlighted new records for sequencing throughput that Oxford Nanopore and its customers have reached. According to Brown, they've gotten about 50 gigabases from a single MinIon flow cell internally, while customers have reported closer to 30 Gb. Meanwhile, for the PromethIon, customers have reported a maximum of 148 Gb per flow cell, though 60 Gb is the median, and the company's internal max is 220 Gb, Brown said.

Finally, Brown also described the droplet-based sequencer the firm is developing that combines parts of its VolTrax automated sample preparation device with MinIon. He reported on that sequencer in a talk back in May, saying that the tool would enable long sequencing runs and single-cell analysis.

"This is quite an exciting device for us," he now said. It's named TraxIon, which Brown said he doesn't like, though others do.

As Keith Robison notes at his blog, Omics! Omics!, the VolTrax tool itself has experienced delays. Version 2 is slated for early 2019.