During the past two decades, genomics research has provided many areas of biology with vast amounts of valuable data and knowledge. With ever improving technologies for reading DNA, and rapidly reducing costs, genomics is now finding applications beyond the biology of humans and model organisms. The latest DNA sequencing technology comes in a handheld device – the MinION, developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.
In an article published in Scientific Reports, an international team from the Netherlands, France, Norway and Austria demonstrates how MinION sequencing can be used to efficiently generate the genome sequence of the European eel.
European eels reproduce exclusively in the Sargasso Sea, more than 6000 kilometers from mainland Europe. Therefore, all eel production and consumption currently relies on declining wild stocks. Genomic resources can form the basis for unraveling the physiological control of the eel’s reproductive cycle, as well as understanding its ecology and evolution.
The European eel genome is the first vertebrate genome to be based on nanopore sequencing. In combination with the bioinformatics methods developed in the article, this technology is promising for many other non-model organisms, as it requires only a modest investment in both sequencing equipment and computing power.