Nick Loman (of the University of Birmingham, and the Pathogens: Genes and Genomes blog) has a post updating us on his survey of second-generation sequencing machines around the world. Loman’s results are also available in the format of a handy Google map (see left).
The take-home messages based on 669 machines in the database: Illumina continues to utterly dominate the second-gen market
, with competing short-read platform SOLiD squabbling for scraps with Roche’s 454. That’s a pretty poor outcome for SOLiD, which has failed to gain traction in the market despite having the full force of Life Technologies’ marketing machinery behind it.
The strategy is simple: by recording the serial numbers of sequencing machines and the date on which they were received, and making some assumptions (e.g. the serial numbers are in fact continuous), one can generate a probabilistic estimate of the rate at which machines are being distributed.
There are certainly a number of ways in which such estimates can prove inaccurate – but as Loman says
, it’s still worth doing the experiment. So if you’re in charge of second-gen sequencers, add your serial numbers now