Open Source DNA Sequencing Software and Instrumentation
Commercial instruments are generally protected by both patents and copyrights for any supporting software. A significant departure from this long term trend is the Polonator, a highly parallelized DNA sequencer supporting whole genome sequencing strategies. Similar to the Open Source computer software philosophy, neither the reagents nor the supporting software are secret, see (link expired). Rather the vision is to enable diverse scientists to both optimize the base system to their individual objectives and to contribute improvements to the system as a whole. The Polonator is but one of numerous inventions and resources flowing from the laboratory of George Church at the Harvard Medical School and his collaborators. They have been exceptionally prolific in spinning off companies which provide equipment and services to the research and commercial communities. This began under the former Human Genome Program and continues with support from the current GTL program.