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Who's Number One?

In a new study in Nature Biotechnology, the University of Birmingham's Nicholas Loman and his colleagues compare three desktop sequencers and analyze their strengths and weaknesses, reports Nature News' Erika Check Hayden. The team used the Roche 454 GS Junior, the Illumina MiSeq, and Life Technologies' Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine to sequence the genome of the E. coli strain that struck Europe last year, Hayden says. Loman tells Nature that the Ion Torrent PGM has the most throughput per hour, while the MiSeq is best for accuracy and highest throughput per run, and the 454 GS Junior generates the longest reads. They all have weaknesses, he says, adding, "Part of the point of our paper is that genome sequencing is not a one-size-fits-all solution."

Up until now, however, people have had to rely on the marketing literature from these companies to learn about the technologies, Loman says. "These kinds of comparisons are fairly rare, and there's definitely more scope for systematic evaluation of platforms," he adds. "At the moment a lot of the comparison is done by rumour and innuendo, and there's definitely scope for opening that up. And nowadays, a lot of these platforms let you put your results straight into the cloud, so there's no reason why that can't happen."

The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.