Beyond Generations: My Vocabulary for Sequencing Tech

Many writers have attempted to divide Next Generation Sequencing into Second Generation Sequencing and Third Generation Sequencing. Personally, I think it isn't helpful and just confuses matters. I'm not the biggest fan of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to start with, as like "post-modern architecture" (or heck, "modern architecture") it isn't future-proofed.

Keith Robison gives an interesting deep dive on how sequencing technologies have been named and potentially could be named.

This post reminded me of my previous takes on the confusing, and inconsistent labelling of these technologies:

How and why the Institute of Cancer Research are using their new Illumina NovaSeq

Image credit: The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Image credit: The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Yesterday, the The Institute of Cancer Researchdisclaimer: that's where I work — published a new blog post where they spoke to Nik Matthews, Genomics Manager in the ICR’s Tumour Profiling Unit, about the Illumina NovaSeq sequencing platform.

It's a little more technical than some of the ICR 'Science Talk' blog posts that we usually publish which is why I thought I'd link to it here.

As someone who was started their PhD around the time the yeast genome was being finished I still am shocked by how far the world of DNA sequencing has come. This is something Nik refers to in his opening answer:

We can now produce data equivalent to the size of the original human genome project every six minutes, which is astonishing.

By comparison, the yeast genome project — an international collaboration involving many different labs — took over five years to sequence its genome…all 12 Mbp of it! Read the full blog post to find out more about how, and why, the ICR adopted the NovaSeq platform:

Bioinformatics blogs

I was surprised to see this blog featured in a recent list of the Top 75 Bioinformatics Blogs and Websites for Bioinformaticians.

Any list that includes this blog — which I barely ever update these days — feels a little bit dubious, especially when I'm listed above some genuinely useful blogs.

Anyway, there are many genuinely useful blogs on this list so I recommend having a look at it. I also made an attempt a few years at listing some of my own favourite bioinformatics blogs…a list which seems to remain relevant.

Illumina's new NovaSeq platform unveiled at The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Dr Nik Matthews, Genomics Manager in the ICR's Tumour Profiling Unit. Credit: ICR

Dr Nik Matthews, Genomics Manager in the ICR's Tumour Profiling Unit. Credit: ICR

It feels a bit strange to be using this blog to link to a news post at my current employer, but I'm happy to share the news that the ICR has become the first organisation in the UK to deploy Illumina's NovaSeq platform.

The ICR's Dr Chris Lord, Deputy Director of the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre, had this to say:

One key area we are keen to use the NovaSeq sequencer for is to discover new ways to select the best available treatment for each individual cancer patient’s specific disease.

If we can do this, we should be able to improve how a significant number of patients are treated. With the NovaSeq system, this kind of work is now feasible – this will be a real game-changer for a lot of the work across the ICR.

Read more in the full news article on the ICR website: