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Environmental applications

A thriving community of scientists use our portable and lab-based sequencing devices in a variety of environmental applications. These include plant and animal biodiversity, the analysis of ocean or glacial microbiomes to understand the impact of climate change, and the protection of wildlife. In the field, scientists can analyse samples at the point of origin. In the lab, larger projects – for example whole genome sequencing of critically endangered animals – can support conservation goals. 

We continue to support these customers by developing devices, kits and analysis tools that aid their work and technical support to enable success, to collaborate to optimise their science, and to develop programmes that offer technology supplies in specific circumstances. 

Using MinION completely off grid on a polar icecap for greater climate change understanding

Glen Gowers and his team took nanopore sequencing "totally off-grid" when they transported MinION across Europe’s largest ice cap (Vatnajökull, Iceland) to study the microbial communities living there.  

Their expedition enhanced understanding of the microbial composition of the polar environment and the role microbial ecosystems play in forcing anthropogenic climate change. They demonstrated "the ability to conduct DNA sequencing in remote locations, far from civilised resources (mechanised transport, external power supply, internet connection, etc.), whilst greatly reducing the time from sample collection to data acquisition". The desired affect is that it encourages further, much needed work in the area. The cryosphere makes up 14% of Earth’s surface and is thought to play a significant role in climate change and its mitigation, yet still relatively little is known about the microbial ecosystems that inhabit it. 

Figure 1: Zane Libke holds a snake, native to the region of Ecuador, above a MinION.

Photo credit: Jaime Culebras

Figure 2: A researcher at Sumak Kawsay in situ research station holds a MinION in the palm of her hand.

Photo credit: Zane Libke

Figure 3: Lara Urban sits on the forest floor with MinION.

Figure 4: A juvenile käkāpo takes an interest in MinION.

Environmental and social responsibilities
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Global impact
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