Next-generation sequencing must die (part 2) — understanding the generation gap

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As a brief follow-up to my previous post, I'd like to clarify that next-generation sequencing may refer to technologies from Illumina, 454, SOLiD, Helicos, Ion Torrent, Complete Genomics, PacBio, or Oxford Nanopore (these links all refer to different papers).

If we want to get more specific, we need to recognize that Complete Genomics is a second generation technology...except when it is a third generation technology. In contrast, we should be clear that Oxford Nanopore is the only example of fourth generation technology...apart from when it is third generation technology. We can at least be sure that Ion Torrent is definitely a second generation platform...unless it's a third generation platform. One paper clarifies this situation by observing that Ion Torrent "sits between" the second and third generation categories.

Further illumination on this subject is provided by the confirmation that PacBio is either a second generation, third generation...or even a "2.5th" generation technology. Likewise, Helicos is also a second generation, third generation, or lies "in between the transition of next-generation sequencing to third generation" sequencing technologies.

So hopefully that's a lot clearer now.