BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Third-Generation DNA Sequencing Introduced
Published: February 23, 2009
Posted: March 11, 2009

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

Contact: Roland Hirsch SC-23.2, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: Research Technologies and Methodologies

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Jan 11, 2022
No Honor Among Copper Thieves
Findings provide a novel means to manipulate methanotrophs for a variety of environmental and in [more...]

Dec 06, 2021
New Genome Editing Tools Can Edit Within Microbial Communities
Two new technologies allow scientists to edit specific species and genes within complex laborato [more...]

Oct 27, 2021
Fungal Recyclers: Fungi Reuse Fire-Altered Organic Matter
Degrading pyrogenic (fire-affected) organic matter is an important ecosystem function of fungi i [more...]

Oct 19, 2021
Microbes Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Climate Change
Scientists identify key features in microbes that predict how warming affects carbon dioxide emi [more...]

Aug 25, 2021
Assessing the Production Cost and Carbon Footprint of a Promising Aviation Biofuel
Biomass-derived DMCO has the potential to serve as a low-carbon, high-performance jet fuel blend [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)