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A Little Look

While this year's Advances in Genome Biology and Technology, held last week in Marco Island, Fla., didn't have as many big splashes as years past — a complaint noted by Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! — attendees were able to get a look at Nabsys' semiconductor-based sequencing system.

Our sister publication In Sequence reported back in January that Nabsys is planning to launch its sequencing system in the second half of this year, at a cost of around $50,000 for the machine. Further, Stan Rose, the company's chief commercial officer, told In Sequence that the turnaround time from samples to results will be less than a day.

Over at Omics! Omics!, Robison has posted pictures of the system from AGBT, which he said "happily whirred away" in the hotel suite during the presentation. He adds that the "exhibited instrument consists of a liquid handling robot with eight stations for the Nabsys devices."

Robison also notes that "Nabsys played it safe with their samples; one was phage lambda DNA and the other a synthetic 20kb standard, and each had a small number of binding sites for Nabsys' proprietary probes." He adds that while this approach allowed "them to demonstrate generating highly precise consensus maps of the probes, with resolutions approaching 20 bp," the conditions are "highly artificial test environments which don't really represent actual use cases."

Susan Young at MIT's Technology Review adds that the Nabsys machine, since it is a so-called positional sequencer, may be well placed to handle oncological samples. "In a tumor, you need to characterize the mixture of [genetic variation] in your sample at different length scales," company CEO Barrett Bready tells her.