While low-cost, revolutionizing computers and gadgets seem to dazzle our eyes every time we look around, a recent and fairly rapid progression in cost-effective genome analyses is drawing quite a lot of attention, the world over. Similar to electronics, the prices for rapid sequencing of genomes are in free fall, making deciphering the genetic code a simpler task than before (Service, 2006).
Over the last five years, the development of various ‘next-generation' (NGS) or ‘second generation' sequencing technologies has transformed large-scale sequencing, resulting in considerable cost reduction and greater volumes of genome sequence data, as compared to the conventional methods prevailing two years ago. NGS technologies could sequence up to a billion bases per day at low cost, leaving extensive genome sequencing in the reach of scores of researchers (Pop and Salzberg, 2008; Metzker, 2010; Nowrousian, 2010). This cost-effectiveness was attained by the implementation of automation and various innovative modifications of Sanger sequencing, instead of inventing entirely new procedures (Shendure et al., 2004). This article examines how this development has come about and what can these NGS technologies contribute to an enlightened future of scientific discoveries.
[...] Therefore, with NGS rapidly developing, only time and inventiveness would establish the limits and the consequent abilities of this new paradigm, to transform genetics into contributing towards the further betterment of life (Service, 2006; Mardis, 2008; Hert et al., 2008; Pettersson et al., 2009). (1416 words) Bibliography Hall N. (2007). Advanced sequencing technologies and their wider impact in microbiology. The Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 1518-1525. Hert D.G., Fredlake C.P. and Barron A.E. (2008). Advantages and limitations of next-generation sequencing technologies: A comparison of electrophoresis and non-electrophoresis methods. Electrophoresis 29: 4618-4626. [...]
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[...] Bioinformatics challenges of new sequencing technology. Trends in Genetics 24: 142-149. Service, R.F., (2006). Gene sequencing: The race for the $1000 genome. Science 311: 1544-1546. Shendure J., Mitra R.D., Varma C. and Church G.M. (2004). Advanced sequencing technologies: methods and goals. Nature Reviews Genetics 335-344. [...]
[...] This will also result in better production of de novo genome sequences (Hert et al., 2008). Conclusion: NGS technologies are getting better at the rate of Moore's Law (it explains the advancement of computer hardware, in that the amount of transistors that could be set on an integrated circuit doubles almost every 2 years, which means that it is increasing exponentially), as innovative approaches and fine-tuning of existing methods reduces the cost for each base by the day, while boosting throughput. [...]
[...] Pareek C.S., Smoczynski R. and Tretyn A. (2008). Sequencing technologies and genome sequencing. Journal of Applied Genetics 52: 413-435. Petterson E., Lundeberg J. and Ahmadian A. (2009). Generations of sequencing technologies. Genomics 93: 105-111. Pop M., Salzberg S.L. (2008). [...]
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