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Sequencers and Tanks

From his updated map of sequencers, Nick Loman says that Illumina machines are still dominant — making up 60 percent of his sample — but that the race for second place is close. Roche, he says, has just nudged out SOLiD by eight machines. (His Google map can be seen here.) To get a better estimate of what sequencers are out there, Loman is kicking off "the great high-throughput sequencing serial number challenge," taking inspiration from a statistical approach used by the British during World War II to estimate the number of German tanks through serial numbers. If those serial numbers are continuous, then a better guess at the number of tanks, or sequencers, can be made. At Genetic Future, Daniel MacArthur calls it a "fiendish plan." He adds: "There are certainly a number of ways in which such estimates can prove inaccurate — but as Loman says, it's still worth doing the experiment."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.