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At Marco Island, New Sequencing Techs Steal the Show

MARCO ISLAND, Fla., Feb. 10 (GenomeWeb News) - Has genome sequencing regained its glory days?


At the seventh annual Advances in Genome Biology and Technology Conference, held here this week, attendees are spending a good amount of their time hearing about next-generation DNA sequencing technology. "We're recycling a little bit back to our origins," Rick Wilson, director of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center, said in his opening remarks yesterday.


AGBT, which began at a time when it was not uncommon for whole conferences to be devoted to sequencing technology and applications, has in more recent years focused on the latest scientific interests such as metagenomics or cancer biology.


This year, the change was clear. The first day's morning and afternoon plenary sessions were dubbed "En Route to the $1,000 Genome." For diehards (and there was no shortage of them), one of the three evening tracks was also dedicated to new sequencing technologies.


One reason for all the sequencing here is that NHGRI chose to hold its meeting for grantees of the $1,000 genome and $100,000 genome programs in conjunction with AGBT. Sequencing grant PIs descended on Marco Island on Monday, and spent Tuesday and Wednesday giving talks and comparing notes on their technological progress. While that meeting was closed to the public, many of the PIs have been giving the same (or at least similar) talks for the main conference.


Plenary speakers the first day included Michael Egholm from 454, Mike Metzker from Baylor, Solexa's David Bentley, John Williams from Li-Cor, Harvard's George Church, Susan Hardin of VisiGen, Greg Timp from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kevin McKernan of Agencourt, and Peter Griffin from Stanford.


Richard Gibbs, who directs Baylor's Human Genome Sequencing Center, chaired the evening session on new sequencing technologies. Wrapping up the talks, Gibbs said, "This whole meeting has the excitement that we had at the beginning of the [Human] Genome Project."

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