The minimal-er genome, part 2

Yesterday I blogged about the J. Craig Venter Institute’s work on identifying and synthesizing a minimally-sized 580,000 nucleotide genome.

Of course, “minimal genome” means different things to different people. A number of players are racing to sequence full-sized, natural, giganucleotide-sized genomes at minimal cost. Today, that race gets a little more crowded, with sequencing start-up NABsys announcing that they’ve received a $4 million infusion of venture capital. NABsys’s technique, unlike competitors 454 Life Sciences or Helicos Biosciences, doesn’t rely on fluorescent or luminescent light detection, and thus doesn’t need any type of DNA polymerization or strand extension reactions to generate sequence data.

No light? No sequencing by synthesis? So how do they do it? It’s simple! All you need is nanopores and “moving window sequencing by hybridization”. Well, perhaps “simple” was an overstatement. But the explanatory video put out by NABsys explains things beautifully.

I would like to have seen some references to published literature on the NABsys web site, but even more, I want to know when I can have my genome sequenced for the low low (minimal?) price of $999!


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