Sequencing the genomes of natural mixtures of species (metagenomes) is key to research for DOE's environmental and energy missions. A new generation of DNA-sequencing instruments, based on a concept from DOE-funded scientists Watt Webb and Harold Craighead at Cornell University, that will enable faster, reliable studies of microbial populations will soon be available. The new instrument sequences single strands of DNA directly, rather than large numbers of identical copies. The new instrument was introduced by Pacific Biosciences of Menlo Park, California, at the 10th annual Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference and will be available later this year. The new technology has two advantages over current high-throughput sequencing instruments. It can read DNA sequence about 10,000 times faster and can read 1000 or more contiguous base pairs from one DNA, significantly longer than existing capabilities. Both advantages will benefit DNA sequencing applications for DOE-relevant mission needs.
References: Mathieu Foquet, Jonas Korlach, Warren R. Zipfel, Watt W. Webb, and Harold G. Craighead, Focal Volume Confinement by Submicrometer-Sized Fluidic Channels, Analytical Chemistry (2004) 76 (6), 1618-1626 and articles cited in the paper.
John Eid, et al., Real-time DNA sequencing from single polymerase molecules Science (2009) 323 (1), 133-138 Advances in Genome Biology and Technology
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