In all honesty, I don’t know how big a difference Pacific Biosystem’s technology* will make to genomics. I doubt anyone can until the machines are actually in use by sequencing centers and people can start to make judgements about how they behave under real life conditions. How much sequence can actually be produced per day or per dollar? How long will the reads actually get? What sort of sequencing errors are most common with the technology and how common are they?
But now I know the people who will be the first to find out the answers to these questions. Today (yesterday by the time this is scheduled to publish) Pacific Biosystem’s announced where the first ten of their new sequencing machines will be going:
View Pacific Biosystems Sequencers in a larger map (click the markers to see the names of the institutions receiving the sequencers)
You’ll notice the two urban areas that are receiving two are the San Francisco Bay Area, and St. Louis.
I don’t know what else to say, I just thought this would be fun data to map.
I do wish Cornell had been included in the first round as I’d really like more sequence data from diverse varieties of corn and PacBio sequencers should have an easier time with the highly repetitive maize genome than second generation sequencers.
They tell me patience is a virtue…
*Pacific Biosystems is the first company to produce “third generation” sequencing machines. The PacBio sequencer reveals the sequences of longer stretches of DNA all at once. Imagine assembling a sequenced genome as putting together a puzzle. The fewer, bigger, pieces, the easier the puzzle. It’s the difference between the 500 and 1000 piece versions of the same puzzle. My understanding is there are other companies developing third generation sequencing technology, but they are certainly keeping a much lower profile. Pacific Biosystem’s public relations has had most biologists I know, including myself, waiting breathlessly for the release of these instruments since my first year of grad school.