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Researchers Rank MiSeq over PGM for Usability; Expect Their Sequencing Output to Grow by Half in 2013

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According to a recent survey of genomic researchers, Illumina's MiSeq is the most usable desktop sequencer on the market now, though Life Technologies' Ion Torrent PGM is better in terms of run time and instrument price.

Respondents to a quarterly genomics survey conducted by GenomeWeb and investment bank Mizuho Securities USA ranked the MiSeq better on more features than the PGM, including current usability, price per base, ease of sample prep, accuracy, and throughput. The PGM, meantime, handily beat the MiSeq in terms of speed and instrument cost and more narrowly won out on reagent price.

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Respondents also weighed in on the newly launched Ion Proton as compared to Illumina's HiSeq. Not surprisingly, the HiSeq was considered the platform that is most usable now, but the Proton ranked better for instrument price, run time, reagent price, and "promise."

"As researchers put the Proton through real-world usage, and as both companies introduce updates to each platform, this dynamic will rapidly change," wrote Mizuho analysts Peter Lawson and Eric Criscuolo in a research note outlining the survey findings.

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The survey, which collected responses from 99 GenomeWeb readers in late December, found that around half the respondents either have a desktop sequencer or plan to purchase one. Interestingly, respondents were not as enthusiastic when it came to the future purchase of a next-generation sequencer of any type. Out of 99 respondents, around half either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement "I will purchase a new NGS instrument in 12 months," while only a quarter, 27, somewhat agreed or strongly agreed with that statement.

Respondents were also lukewarm on the subject of outsourcing sequencing, with 49 out of 99 respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement that they'd be more likely to outsource sequencing than perform it in house, and 38 out of 99 respondents agreeing somewhat or strongly with that statement.

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However, respondents indicated that they expect to generate dramatically more sequencing data in 2013 than 2012, with an average increase of 51 percent. Respondents expect sequencing output to increase even more in 2014, by an average of 63 percent.

Researchers who responded to the survey said their sequencing output increased by around 50 percent in 2012 over 2011.

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The 26-question survey, designed to assess general trends in the genomics R&D sector, was e-mailed to a subset of GenomeWeb readers comprising researchers in academic organizations, hospital or reference labs, and biopharmaceutical firms. Around 55 percent of the 99 respondents work in a government or academic setting and approximately 71 percent receive government research funding.

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