The massively parallel sequencing technology known as next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the biological sciences. With its ultra-high throughput, scalability, and speed, NGS enables researchers to perform a wide variety of applications and study biological systems at a level never before possible.
Today's complex genomic research questions demand a depth of information beyond the capacity of traditional DNA sequencing technologies. Next-generation sequencing has filled that gap and become an everyday research tool to address these questions.
NGS technology has fundamentally changed the kinds of questions scientists can ask and answer. Innovative sample preparation and data analysis options enable a broad range of applications. For example, NGS allows researchers to:
Using capillary electrophoresis-based Sanger sequencing, the Human Genome Project took over 10 years and cost nearly $3 billion.
Next-generation sequencing, in contrast, makes large-scale whole-genome sequencing (WGS) accessible and practical for the average researcher. It enables scientists to analyze the entire human genome in a single sequencing experiment, or sequence thousands to tens of thousands of genomes in one year.
NGS-based RNA-Seq is a powerful method that enables researchers to break through the inefficiency and expense of legacy technologies such as microarrays. Microarray gene expression measurement is limited by noise at the low end and signal saturation at the high end. In contrast, next-gen sequencing quantifies discrete, digital sequencing read counts, offering a broader dynamic range.1,2,3
Targeted sequencing allows you to sequence a subset of genes or specific genomic regions of interest, efficiently and cost-effectively focusing the power of NGS.
NGS is highly scalable, allowing you to tune the level of resolution to meet specific experimental needs. Choose whether to do a shallow scan across multiple samples, or sequence at greater depth with fewer samples to find rare variants in a given region.
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Illumina sequencing utilizes a fundamentally different approach from the classic Sanger chain-termination method. It leverages sequencing by synthesis (SBS) technology – tracking the addition of labeled nucleotides as the DNA chain is copied – in a massively parallel fashion.
Next-generation sequencing generates masses of DNA sequencing data, and is both less expensive and less time-consuming than traditional Sanger sequencing.2 Illumina sequencing systems can deliver data output ranging from 300 kilobases up to multiple terabases in a single run, depending on instrument type and configuration.
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Recent Illumina next-generation sequencing technology breakthroughs include:
The resources below offer valuable guidance to researchers who are considering purchasing an NGS system.
Learn about read length, coverage, quality scores, and other experimental considerations to help you plan your sequencing run. You can use our interactive tools to help you create an NGS protocol or select the right products and methods for your project.