On nanopore DNA sequencing by signal and noise analysis of ionic current.


DNA sequencing, i.e., the process of determining the succession of nucleotides on a DNA strand, has become a standard aid in biomedical research and is expected to revolutionize medicine. With the capability of handling single DNA molecules, nanopore technology holds high promises to become speedier in sequencing at lower cost than what are achievable with the commercially available optics- or semiconductor-based massively parallelized technologies. Despite tremendous progress made with biological and solid-state nanopores, high error rates and large uncertainties persist with the sequencing results. Here, we employ a nano-disk model to quantitatively analyze the sequencing process by examining the variations of ionic current when a DNA strand translocates a nanopore. Our focus is placed on signal-boosting and noise-suppressing strategies in order to attain the single-nucleotide resolution. Apart from decreasing pore diameter and thickness, it is crucial to also reduce the translocation speed and facilitate a stepwise translocation. Our best-case scenario analysis points to severe challenges with employing plain nanopore technology, i.e., without recourse to any signal amplification strategy, in achieving sequencing with the desired single-nucleotide resolution. A conceptual approach based on strand synthesis in the nanopore of the translocating DNA from single-stranded to double-stranded is shown to yield a 10-fold signal amplification. Although it involves no advanced physics and is very simple in mathematics, this simple model captures the essence of nanopore sequencing and is useful in guiding the design and operation of nanopore sequencing.

DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/21/215502

Cite this paper

@article{Wen2016OnND, title={On nanopore DNA sequencing by signal and noise analysis of ionic current.}, author={Chenyu Wen and Shuangshuang Zeng and Zhen Zhang and Klas Hjort and Ralph Hendrik Scheicher and Shi-Li Zhang}, journal={Nanotechnology}, year={2016}, volume={27 21}, pages={215502} }