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A Great Time on Marco Island

On the last day of AGBT, attendees crowded the room for the session everyone had been waiting for: New Genomic Frontiers, highlighting sequencing advances from Pacific Biosciences, Complete Genomics, Life Technologies, Ion Torrent, and Helicos. At Genetic Interference, Luke Jostins gives a quick run-down of each and he notes that "we are starting to see a divergence in sequencing technologies … This means that the scientists themselves can more closely tailor their choice of tech to fit their situation."

Joe Beechem's talk about the third-gen platform from Life Tech probably generated the most buzz after the session; the combination of the VisiGen concept with quantum dots had attendees genuinely interested. "The most shocking thing about the technology is that in theory it can be used to generate reads of unlimited length," says Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future.

Jonathan Rothberg, who gave the Ion Torrent presentation, wins the Daily Scan award for most theatrical — his talk was punctuated by narrated commercials on the technology as well as staff members carrying the instrument through the room for all to see. Pinning him down on details was difficult: Rothberg refused to answer a question about the instrument's sample prep requirements, but did note that libraries prepped for other next-gen systems could be used on the platform. Our sister publication In Sequence adds that the instrument will cost $50,000, among other details. Keith Robison also blogs about Ion Torrent here.

At its own workshop, Pacific Biosciences presented its new sequencing instrument, Pacbio RS. Stephen Turner said that the system could produce reads as long as 20,000 bases, though Daniel MacArthur adds that only a few reads will be that length. MassGenomics' Dan Koboldt blogs that he asked Turner whether PacBio's ability to detect "dark bases" had improved and he was told that there aren't any "dark bases," but there are missed bases. "Turner was almost comically evasive (as Daniel MacArthur put it) in stating how often they occur," Koboldt says.

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.