The use of nanoscale pores to sequence biological polymers was proposed twenty years ago. In this seminar, I will present features of nanopores that explain why this farfetched concept works. I will then discuss advances in enzyme-based control of DNA translocation, and in DNA nucleotide resolution using modified pores, that are at the center of proposed commercial devices. I will then explain recent experiments in our group where we distinguish between epigenetic modifications on individual DNA strands. These modifications in genomic DNA help determine when genes are turned on as an embryo develops. I will also present our use of an enzyme (ClpX) that unfolds proteins in bacteria and that we use for controlled examination of single protein molecules captured in nanopores.