Cheaper DNA Sequencing of Very Large Genomes
Complete Genomics, Inc., has announced a new technology for sequencing extremely large genomes at low cost. The system is an evolution from DOE-funded sequencing research carried out at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in the 1990s by Rade Drmanac. He continued technology developments with a focus on cost reduction through miniaturization and multiplexing sequence readouts on target DNAs with support from the DOE SBIR program and other sources. Over the years, the scale of data readouts (and the corresponding need for expensive reagents) has gone from square meter membranes to the current implementation involving minute volumes of reagents on microscope slides. On these slides a target genome is redundantly represented as dense arrays of DNA mini-spheres. The new methodology could provide substantial cost reductions for DOE mission needs for sequencing plant genomes, that often are much larger than mammalian genomes. Drmanac’s accomplishments are described in an article in the October 2008 issue of Nature Biotechnology, and the new instrumentation has been highlighted in an article in the October 6 issue of the New York Times.