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Genome Res. 2008 Jun;18(6):839-46. doi: 10.1101/gr.073262.107.

The new paradigm of flow cell sequencing.

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  • 1British Columbia Cancer Agency, Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4E6, Canada.


DNA sequencing is in a period of rapid change, in which capillary sequencing is no longer the technology of choice for most ultra-high-throughput applications. A new generation of instruments that utilize primed synthesis in flow cells to obtain, simultaneously, the sequence of millions of different DNA templates has changed the field. We compare and contrast these new sequencing platforms in terms of stage of development, instrument configuration, template format, sequencing chemistry, throughput capability, operating cost, data handling issues, and error models. While these platforms outperform capillary instruments in terms of bases per day and cost per base, the short length of sequence reads obtained from most instruments and the limited number of samples that can be run simultaneously imposes some practical constraints on sequencing applications. However, recently developed methods for paired-end sequencing and for array-based direct selection of desired templates from complex mixtures extend the utility of these platforms for genome analysis. Given the ever increasing demand for DNA sequence information, we can expect continuous improvement of this new generation of instruments and their eventual replacement by even more powerful technology.

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