WHAT ARE THE NEW MACHINES?So what are these new machines? To get a good perspective, I am quickly going to go over the existing systems, and then compare them to their newest "replacements". So far, Illumina's approach has basically been to sell two types of sequencers, with one being a lower throughput, cheaper, "personal" desktop sequencer and the other being a high throughput, high powered, expensive sequencer that is more for the seriously big jobs. Until now, the smaller desktop sequencer has been the MiSeq platform and the higher powered sequencer has been the HiSeq 2500 platform. Although it is relatively less powerful when compared to the HiSeq, the MiSeq is capable of sequencing an entire bacterial genome (and other small genomes), is capable of sequencing a human exome, and is also great for many amplicon-based sequencing experiments, such as those that involve the sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. This machine has read lengths up to 600bp (base pairs) long, can yield up to 50 million reads (paired end), and takes about a day or two to run, depending on chemistry used (more info here).
On the other hand, the more powerful and more expensive HiSeq 2500 system is able to get DNA sequences up to 250bp long (300 bp for the rapid, less throughput chemistry runs), can yield up to 8 billion reads (paired end), and takes up to nearly two weeks (11 days) to run a single set of samples (more info here). This machine is used for RNA sequencing, DNA sequencing experiments that require incredibly high genomic coverage, or for the sequencing of large genomes like the human genome. So how do the new machines compare?
|The new HiSeq X must be purchased as a set of 10|
machines for $1 million each, making the set of ten
(the HiSeq X10) cost $10 million.
PERSPECTIVES ON THE $1,000 HUMAN GENOME
|The cost to sequence a human genome has continued to drop since 2001.|
So, in the end, what does all of this mean? Essentially, Illumina once again appears to be leading the pack in affordable human genome sequencing, and we can expect to see more of these kinds of technologies in common medical practice as the costs drop and the technology becomes more accessible. In addition to making DNA sequencing potentially more accessible to the public, this new technology is going to provide immense power to researchers like me, who can now get even more information for less of a cost. Furthermore, the efficiency and cost will likely improve database collection (like human genome databases, which can be used for powerful research) which could be performed by governments or corporations. Overall, this technology is yet another big step forward in genomic research, and this is certainly an exciting time to be a scientist (either professionally or as an amateur).
Want to learn more, or just check the claims I made above? Check out some of the resources below.
Works Cited & Further Reading
Liu L, Li Y, Li S, Hu N, He Y, Pong R, Lin D, Lu L, & Law M. (2012). Comparison of next-generation sequencing systems. J Biomed Biotechnol. DOI: 10.1155/2012/251364
Illumina Announces the Thousand Dollar Genome
Illumina Destroy the Opposition Again - Almost
Sequencing Gel Stock Photo
HiSeq X10 Stock Image
Cost Per Genome Graphic