Illumina's sequencers account for almost two thirds of about 750 sequencing instruments listed in a user-maintained database of next-gen sequencing facilities around the world, while 454's platform and Life Tech's SOLiD system each make up more than 15 percent.
As of early this week, the database and map of high-throughput "next-generation" sequencing facilities contained more than 800 next-gen sequencers and microarray platforms — 750 of them sequencers — from almost 300 centers in 37 countries. About a third of the centers are located in the US.
The database and map were set up by James Hadfield, head of a genomics core facility at Cancer Research UK in Cambridge, and Nick Loman, a bioinformatician at the University of Birmingham, and are continuously updated by users.
Of the 750 sequencing instruments, 470, or almost two-thirds, are Illumina GAIIx or HiSeq 2000 machines.
By comparison, there are 141 Roche/454 sequencers, or almost 20 percent, and 125 ABI SOLiD systems, more than 15 percent of the total. The database also accounts for 10 Helicos Genetic Analysis systems and two Polonators.
Loman said in a blog post that he now plans to gain a better estimate of the total number of next-gen sequencers installed at customer sites worldwide by anonymously tracking their serial numbers, an approach that he said was inspired by how the British military estimated the number of German tanks deployed in World War II.