Next-Generation Sequencing Methods: A Summary

Being a computer scientist entering the bioinformatics field, I was always interested in learning more about DNA sequencing and how biologists actually perform sequencing. I learned about a few earlier methods, like Sanger sequencing, from my molecular biology course, but these new “next-generation” methods were being thrown around. So I did a bit of research and found a couple papers that summarized the more prominent next-generation methods. If you’re a person in the position I was in a while back, then maybe reading these will give you a little more insight into these new sequencing methods. Note: you might need some biology knowledge to understand the terms and things described here.

Mardis, Elaine R. “Next-Generation DNA Sequencing Methods”. Annual Reviews Genomics and Human Genetics. 2008. pdf

Ansorge, Wilhelm J. “Next-generation DNA sequencing techniques”. New Biotechnology. April 2009. pdf

In both of these pieces of literature, they describe a little bit of history in DNA sequencing. Then they jump into the three primary next-generation platforms:

  1. Roche/454 FLX Pyrosequencer
  2. Illumina (Solexa) Genome Analyzer
  3. Applied Biosystems SOLiD Sequencer

The Helicos HeliScope platform is mentioned and described a bit in both as well.

I feel the Mardis paper has much nicer graphics and figures which complement the description of the different platforms. However, both have really great descriptions overall. Both also describe some applications for these next-generation techniques and future applications to come.