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Old 08-10-2019, 08:51 PM   #15
Location: Australia

Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 19

If the cells can be recycled, that option should be available to the purchaser. It has already been discovered that cells from the older Ion Torrent machine can be used indefinitely, and I suspect ONT don't want the user experimenting with that possibility. Their official reason per their website varies from "Please return your flow cells after use." (i.e. no reason) to "It is a requirement of the contract." depending on where you read. In any case, I can't see any valid reason to be paying return shipping to the UK if the device is merely going to be disposed of.

Good to know there are options for base calling. My objection to Epi2Me was the necessity for large online data flow, which is difficult when you're mobile and expensive in general in Australia. As an example, I had to reach out to a friend who works for an ISP to merely download a 100GB BAM file, because such bandwidth isn't available to the end user at any price as yet. Being a kiwi, I'm sure you can relate.

I can't see a hobbyist needing to handle the volumes for 12-sample multiplexing, and the learning curve for barcoding would complicate an already complex procedure. A more likely scenario is use and rewash of the flow cell, where maybe 4 or 5 samples can be read at best. With single flow cells being $900 (plus reagents at several hundred bucks) the cost will be more like $300 per sample, especially when you take into account that they have a limited (12 week) shelf life.

All this just outlines the differences between commercial operation and home use, and is no criticism of ONT technology per se. There is no product for the low end of the market at present, and the one that might have fit the purpose - the SmidgION - has been stillborn, judging from the lack of progress since 2016.

I fully expect something new to eclipse ONT soon anyhow, given that it is now fairly old technology in "dog years."

Last edited by Haiqu; 08-10-2019 at 09:09 PM.
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