While standard sequencing platforms can either generate vast amounts of data, or read long enough stretches of the genome to allow complete reconstruction, the Nanopore device has the potential to achieve both goals.
A drawback of the technology is that the single reads it produces are currently much less accurate than the reads produced by larger devices. Strong bioinformatics tools are needed to correct errors. The methods Simpson and colleagues developed are able to overcome the error rate and compute a more accurate final sequence.
Scaled up, this technology could one day be used to sequence tumour genomes. The device’s portable nature would allow for sequencing to become far more accessible, bringing the option of more personalized diagnosis and treatment to more patients.