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Ion Torrent Makes Protocols Public, Releases New Grand Challenges Dataset

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Life Technologies has made several protocols for its Ion Torrent PGM accessible on its website and has also released a new dataset as part of its Life Grand Challenges contest, which challenges participants to make their own improvements to Ion Torrent protocols.

The company has offered $1 million to winners in each of three categories: sample preparation, base yield, and accuracy. Winners must beat the company's internal record by two-fold.

The company raises the bar for taking home the prize money every three months if no winner is announced by generating a new dataset from the sequencing of an Escherichia coli strain.

The latest dataset, released on Sept. 30, demonstrates read lengths of 213 base pairs with high-quality reads as long as 302 base pairs. Additionally, the raw error rate at the 150th base is 1.1 percent. The company used its 316 chip, which generated 571 megabases of data.

Both the scalability and accuracy challenges have now been moved to the 316 chip. Participants would have to demonstrate a throughput of 1,142.86 megabases of data with an aligned quality at Phred score 20 to win the scalability challenge. To win the accuracy challenge, participants must generate 2,014,941 reads with an aligned quality score of 23, instead of 20, and reduce the error rate from 1 percent to 0.5 percent.

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