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Land Rover Discovery Powers Mobile Research

Posted in News | 21/08/2019

The Land Rover Discovery has celebrated its 30th anniversary by playing the role of mobile laboratory on a pioneering drive across sub-Saharan Africa as part of the latest Land Rover Bursary.

The Mobile Malaria Project team crossed four countries in a specially converted version of Land Rover’s most versatile full-sized SUV. They successfully tested the latest portable genetic sequencing technology in remote off-grid locations for the first time – even generating data for their partners while driving.

Land Rover Discovery MOBILE MALARIA RESEARCH - Rybrook Land Rover

Driving a Discovery developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations and led by Dr George Busby, the team worked with local scientists to extract and analyse DNA in remote locations, generating useful genetic data within hours. Scientists usually have to wait weeks for data after obtaining, preparing and dispatching samples to overseas laboratories for analysis.

The one-off Discovery was equipped as a mobile genetic sequencing laboratory, making full-use of its 1,137-litre load space with a fridge/freezer to safely store scientific supplies, a bespoke load space configuration system to hold the team’s equipment and an on-board expedition battery. A purpose-built dual sun awning, rescue kit, winch, sand/mud tracks, roof rack and LED night driving lamps completed the list of modifications. In addition, the scientific legwork was done by a series of compact genetic sequencing machines, MinIONs.

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