DNA fingerprinting

using portable DNA sequencing


Sophie Zaaijer, Assaf Gordon, Robert Piccone, Daniel Speyer, Yaniv Erlich

Rapid re-identification of human samples


We developed a rapid, inexpensive, and portable strategy to re-identify human DNA using the MinION. Our strategy requires only ~60 min preparation and 5-30 minutes of MinION sequencing, works with low input DNA, and enables familial searches using Direct-to-Consumer genomic reference datasets. This method can be implemented in a variety of fields:


Identification of abandoned meterial using DNA fingerprinting is a common practice. The main challange currently being: time. Our method allows rapid sample preparation at the crime scene (see movie). We envision that the method can be adopted in the field for rapid checks, after a mass disaster, and can be adopted in border control to fight human traffacking.


Clinics procces many samples, either for analysis or, for example, organ donations. These samples are DNA fingerprinted to prevent sample mix-up mistakes. Our method can be implemnted in the clinic for rapid sanitiy-check of all incoming samples.

Cell line identification

Cross contamination of cell lines in science is a major problem. It results in unreproducible data, and clinical trails based on inaccurate findings. This problem costs billions of dollars per year. We envision labs can adopt our identification method to ensure the purity of the cell line, and detect contamination.

Person ID action - trialer

In this movie we show the speed of sample prep in the lab and elsewhere

Tools we use for our analysis


MinION by Oxford Nanopore Technologies

The MinION is the smallest DNA sequencer currently around. Its the size of a Mars bar, and can be simply plugged into a laptop with a USB3.0 port.

For more information about the MinION please click:

Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Bento Lab

The Bento lab is a miniature lab with a centrifuge, thermocycler and a electrophoresis compartment.

For more information about the Bento-lab please click:

Bento Lab


Want to adopt our method?

Source code: person identification on GitHub

reference us : Zaaijer et al., 2016 BioXRv