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."
Sequencers and Tanks
Mar 19, 2010