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> DNA needs to be read. If you want to identify the genetic code of something you need to sequence it. This is like being able to open the source code other people's programs to see how things work, debug your experiment and is the analogue of an oscilloscope in electronics.

While sequencing is incredibly useful for some applications (I spend my time working on Illumina current-generation "Next-gen" sequencing), we don't understand nearly enough about the regulation of genes for a sequencer to be analogous to an oscilloscope. It is, at best, a wiring diagram, and really much closer to a parts list. Oxford Nanopore seems really exciting, especially for field biologists, but it's at best 1 order of magnitude better (in terms of cost, speed, and sensitivity) than current technology; historical trends have seen a Moore's law-style exponential increase in capabilities, though, so Oxford Nanopore isn't really a quantum leap.




For RNAseq the analogy works pretty well.


Isn't RNASeq more like looking at really verbose log messages? Where you only sample 1% of the log messages and may be looking for an event that happens 0.01% of the time?


The general assumption is that if you're looking for a transcript that falls below the detection threshold of RNAseq, then it's likely to be so weakly expressed as to be biologically negligible. Furthermore, with the bursty nature of gene expression, an average of 2-3 copies per cell (about my limit of detection in a reasonably sized experiment) could still have a sizable fraction of cells with none at all.

That said, the downside of the Oxford Nanopore for RNA-seq is that, while you get longer reads, it's not yet really clear how many reads you get, which is at least as important for trying to find those moderate-lowly expressed genes.




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