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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

Follow-Up Data Requests to Biobank Participants Ineffective, Study Finds

An effort to recontact biobank enrollees for additional information reports low participation in a new BMJ Open study.

Study Finds Widespread Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Vietnam Hospitals

A sequencing study in The Lancet Microbe finds widespread transmission of drug-resistant Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii in two Vietnam ICUs.

Novel Brain Cell Organoids Show Promise for Autism Research

University of Utah researchers report in Nature Communications on their development of brain cell organoids to study SHANK3-related autism.

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.