The Race Towards Faster and Longer Read Sequencing
For our clients, the choice of sequencing platform will depend on the kinds of questions they are trying to answer. For whole genome sequencing, analysis of rare variants or rare species, long-read sequencing platforms are the best choice to simplify downstream genome assembly and analysis. For more targeted analysis of well-characterized, common variants, the classic short-read approaches are extremely effective.
As the major players in the sequencing technology space continue to fight to maintain their niche in the market, they are having to constantly innovate and solve challenges faced by researchers using their products. Illumina is the latest major sequencing company to announce a new platform, utilizing new chemistry for faster sequencing that will also be compatible with their move into long-read sequencing.
How Does Illumina’s NovaSeqX Compare to Previous Illumina Platforms?
In a press release, Illumina touted a redesign of almost all major elements of their previous NovaSeq 6000 platform. They launched a “fundamentally new” form of sequencing by synthesis chemistry called XLEAP-SBS which is twice as fast and up to three times more accurate than their previous method. According to the limited details released by Illumina, these improvements appear to be facilitated by higher-density flow cells and a new, more accurate polymerase enzyme.
Interestingly, Illumina has also introduced 15 new reagents that are stable at room temperature, lowering shipping costs and reducing the need for cold shipping. The new sequencing chemistry will not be compatible with the NovaSeq 6000 but will be compatible with their new Infinity protocol for long-read sequencing.
Illumina’s Competitors: Oxford Nanopore and PacBio
Illumina’s innovations also come across as nods to some of the strengths of its competitors. Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing platforms are advertised for their speed and extremely long reads, but lack the high accuracy of Illumina’s short read platforms. Pacific Biosciences, aka PacBio, uses its own proprietary sequencing by synthesis chemistry to produce extremely accurate medium-to-long reads, and designs unique protocols tailored to research areas like microbiome studies and cancer genomics. The competition between these companies ultimately benefits researchers as costs are driven down while speed and accuracy increase.
Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis: How We Can Help
Transforming raw sequence data into actionable biological insights is no small feat. We can help you tackle the challenging computational task of interpreting genomic data. Bridge Informatics’ bioinformaticians are trained bench biologists, so they understand the biological questions driving your computational analysis. Click here to schedule a free introductory call with a member of our team.
Jane Cook, Biochemist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics
Jane has a B.A. in Biochemistry and a passion for bioinformatics and genomic medicine which she uses as a Content Writer at Bridge Informatics, a professional services firm that helps biotech customers implement advanced techniques in the management and analysis of genomic data. Bridge Informatics focuses on data mining, machine learning, and various bioinformatic techniques to discover biomarkers and companion diagnostics. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email [email protected] or [email protected].