Dan Koboldt has a very nice recap of the various sequencing technologies presented at last week’s Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting. I totally agree with his central point:
Something had been bothering me about the sequencing-company presentations this year, and I finally realized what it was. During AGBT 2009, every player was gunning to take over the world. This year it seems like every sequencing platform has a niche in mind.
The recent proliferation of sequencing technologies – each with their own characteristic profile of strengths and weaknesses – has been bewildering, especially given the excessive hype being sprayed around as companies seek to raise venture capital and drown out their competitors. However, I think Dan’s right that the market is now openly segmenting as each platform seeks to find the applications that best fit its strength/weakness profile.
As one notable example, it’s very clear now that the third-generation single molecule sequencing technology developed by Pacific Biosciences
– originally touted as being a replacement for second-generation platforms – will be restricted to niche applications (rapid confirmation of variants discovered by another technology, and supplementing second-gen sequencing in the assembly of novel genomes) for the foreseeable future due to its low yield and high error rate.