The hosts for this project are the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, named after Fred Sanger who in the 1970s the chemistry we use for sequencing,
In the 1990s we developed methods for sequencing up to 96 samples at once in plastic plates using fluorescent dyes to detect the sequencing reaction. It was those methods that were used to sequence the human genome.
In the middle of the 2000s a new approach was developed, where instead of samples in plastic, samples were prepared as droplets in oil solutions, and the fluorescence of each microdroplet recorded using a microscope. There can be hundreds of thousands of droplets and so huge amounts of data is being generated in parallel. A typical “run” can generate 30 million bases of data from these droplets This is the most popular current method, though there are others in development, including the gloriously named “Minion” system (no – it isn’t yellow).
It developed over many years, with thousands of scientists involved in developing ways of sequencing DNA. The vole genome is roughly the same size as the human genome, and the first whole human genome (3 billion basepairs) took 13 years to completely sequence (1989-2002) and cost 3 billion dollars. Today technology has moved on so fast that we can sequence a whole human or vole genome in less than a week for less than 10,000 dollars
It started with single gene or gene fragment sequencing, and evolved into so-called “next generation sequencing -NGS). NGS uses synthesis (SBS) technology – tracking nucleotides as the DNA chain is copied.