In the United Kingdom, researchers conducted genome sequencing for the first time ever in actual fields. Researchers used the MinION from Oxford Nanopore Technologies to sequence plants in Snowdonia National Park and demonstrate that they can read the DNA sequence of any organism quickly and anywhere. As reported in NUU in June, researchers held a class to teach fellow researchers about the MinION portable genome sequencer and predicted it would be used by consumers within five years.
Up until now, species identification by genome sequencing could take months, but the new technology allows users to identify species fast and in the field. The key to their speed is not sequencing every little bit of DNA but sequencing random genome pieces and comparing it to a free database of reference genome sequences. Instead of months, it only took a few hours after collecting the plant specimen to get the results, which had high levels of accuracy compared to the traditional genome sequencing methods.