Radiation tolerance of nanopore sequencing technology for life detection on Mars and Europa

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Authors
Sutton, Mark A.
Burton, Aaron S.
Zaikova, Elena
Sutton, Ryan E.
Brinckerhoff, William B.
Bevilacqua, Julie G.
Weng, Margaret M.
Mumma, Michael J.
Johnson, Sarah Stewart
Issue Date
2019-03-29
Type
Article
Language
en_US
Keywords
Meteorites , Molecules
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Abstract

The search for life beyond Earth is a key motivator in space exploration. Informational polymers, like DNA and RNA, are key biosignatures for life as we know it. The MinION is a miniature DNA sequencer based on versatile nanopore technology that could be implemented on future planetary missions. A critical unanswered question is whether the MinION and its protein-based nanopores can withstand increased radiation exposure outside Earth's shielding magnetic field. We evaluated the effects of ionizing radiation on the MinION platform - including flow cells, reagents, and hardware - and discovered limited performance loss when exposed to ionizing doses comparable to a mission to Mars. Targets with harsher radiation environments, like Europa, would require improved radiation resistance via additional shielding or design refinements.

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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Citation
Sutton, Mark A.; Burton, Aaron S.; Zaikova, Elena; Sutton, Ryan E.; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Bevilacqua, Julie G.; Weng, Margaret M.; Mumma, Michael J.; Johnson, Sarah Stewart. 2019. Radiation tolerance of nanopore sequencing technology for life detection on Mars and Europa. Scientific Reports, vol. 9:article 5370
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NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
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DOI
ISSN
2045-2322
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