DNA sequencing/barcoding use

Hi all,

I’m an iNaturalist user and writer and I’m considering pitching a story to a magazine about use of DNA barcoding in the amateur naturalist community.

I’m looking for anyone who may use Oxford Nanopore’s MinION thumb drive-sized device (https://store.nanoporetech.com/us/minion.html) or a similar device in their naturalist hobby. I’d want to interview folks about how they use it.

I’m hoping to hear from people by mid-day Monday, January 15th, as the particular magazine is closing pitches for the issue I have in mind (it’s a special issue on technology and ‘play’). Actual interviews would take place later – I just need to have interview candidates to create the article pitch.

Responses after Monday, January 15 could still be useful but I’d have to pitch it somewhere else, and I think it’s a perfect story for this specific issue.


Sorry - no exprience, but the subject is interesting. The price of the device and the flow cell seems to be within reason. All it would take is to know the process for identifying Lepidoptera through the barcodes.

Hi there, I’d recommend reaching out to Aaron Pomerantz - he works for ONT and has done a lot of DNA metabarcoding with the MinION.

If you’re interested in eDNA more generally for amateur barcoding - you could reach out to Shaun Wilkinson at WilderLab in NZ - he runs an eDNA company which does DNA barcoding etc, including for amateur communities.
Hope that helps - let me know if you have any questions!


Stephen Russell is probably a good contact …
Stephen is one of the most significant users of the technology supporting non-professional mycologists.
However, it is worth mentioning that use of the MinION technology only becomes cost-effective when you are barcode sequencing hundreds to thousands of samples per run. You don’t use it just to barcode sequence a handful of specimens, which is what most amateurs want, and can afford. Therefore, it is used primarily to support large groups of users, and not so useful for the average individual naturalist.


I was initially thinking of Flongle, but the running costs do add up even on that. The license part was also a red flag - likely no resale value after the needed samples are done. With an instrument like this that might be the case anyway.

I suppose I’ll keep begging from my museum contacts. :)

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If you’re interested in the in-situ application of nanopore, I’ve been using it in Ecuador and Peru for DNA barcoding of frogs and wildlife disease monitoring (with the minION and P2 Solo). Happy to chat about it if you like!


Hey there, I’m doing sequence validation for the Ohio Mushroom DNA lab - I’m going to share your post with our group and see if our guys that are actually doing the sequencing would be interested. Would you be willing to share what magazine you’re looking in to?


Stephen Russell would also be a good person to reach out to but he doesn’t answer iNat messages, he has a massive backlog of notifications and will never see them. OP, you’d need to reach out to him on facebook or via email.

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I’m a long time user of nanopore sequencing and would love to comment on it. I’m currently helping the Ohio Mushroom DNA Lab with the technical aspects. We use Stephen Russell’s protocol so I’m familiar with the ongoing barcoding efforts in the amateur mycology world. That said, I also agree Stephen would be an excellent choice if he has time.


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