Oxford Nanopore has reached an agreement with Harvard University to develop technology that uses graphene for DNA and RNA sequencing. This technology was developed in the Harvard laboratories of Professors Jene Golovchenko, Daniel Branton, and Charles Lieber and Oxford Nanopore now has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize it.

The Harvard team used graphene to separate two chambers containing ionic solutions, and created a hole - a nanopore – in the graphene. The group demonstrated that the graphene nanopore could be used as a trans-electrode, measuring a current flowing through the nanopore between two chambers. The trans-electrode was used to measure variations in the current as a single molecule of DNA was passed through the nanopore. This resulted in a characteristic electrical signal that reflected the size and conformation of the DNA molecule.

Graphene is just one atom thick, and thus it's the thinnest membrane that can seperate two liquid compartments from each other - an important characteristic for DNA sequencing.