Two recent genomes published in Science and Nature — the water flea and the orangutan, respectively — show that the limit for genome sequencing papers hasn't been reached, says Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! These papers also have something else in common: the researchers used fluorescent capillary Sanger sequencing. "Sanger, of course, was the backbone of genome projects until only very recently," Robison says. "Even in the last few years, only a few large genomes have been initially published using second generation technologies, though these methods have become the norm for resequencing projects." Sanger's attractive qualities — long reads and high quality — are offset by disadvantages like the fact that it's expensive and requires both "a host of accessories" and "skilled labor" to operate, Robison says. Even with the all the contributions Sanger has made to sequencing, a number of recent technological advances may make its advantages obsolete. "It will probably not be obvious when the last Sanger genome is published and so there may be no fanfare," he adds. "It may just be the case that it is realized long after that some particular paper is the last of the generation. Dideoxy electrophoretic sequencing had a remarkable run and can be retired with great honors."
Mar 10, 2011