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ABRF Survey Finds Half of Second-Gen Sequencer Owners Plan to Buy More

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A recent survey by the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities' DNA Sequencing Research Group found that around half the labs that currently own a second-generation sequencing instrument plan to buy another system some time in the next two years.

Peter Schweitzer of Cornell University told attendees of ABRF's annual meeting here today that the results are just a "snapshot" of the current state of next-generation sequencing instrumentation, and noted that the DSRG plans to conduct further analysis on the survey data and submit its findings to the Journal of Biomolecular Technology in the near future.

Of the survey's 69 participants, which primarily included core labs and academic institutes in the US, 37 currently have one or more sequencer from Roche/454, Illumina, or Applied Biosystems. Of those, 47 percent indicated that they plan to buy at least one more instrument in the next two years.

Of those participants who do not currently have next-gen sequencers, 15 said they have no plans to purchase one in the future, while 15 said they are considering a purchase in the next two years.

Of the total respondents, 57 percent said that they plan to purchase a second or third-generation sequencer. Of those, 10 institutes said they plan to purchase a system "immediately," 20 said they plan to make their purchase in the next six months, 17 said they plan to make a purchase in six to 12 months, and 12 said they plan to buy in the next one to two years.

The mix of platforms that these respondents intend to buy was split relatively evenly between Roche/454, Illumina, and Applied Biosystems, Schweitzer said.

The most common application for next-gen sequencing among responding labs was whole-genome sequencing, followed by ChIP-Seq and transcriptome profiling. The least common applications were digital gene expression and methylation analysis.

Three responding labs said they perform only whole-genome sequencing with their systems, while one lab exclusively performs small RNA sequencing with its instrument.

The survey results indicate that next-gen sequencing is having some impact on Sanger sequencing, but perhaps not as much as some may have expected. Only three responding labs said that their use of Sanger sequencing has "dramatically" decreased due to next-gen technology, while 10 labs said their use of Sanger sequencing has decreased "somewhat."

The majority of respondents, however, indicated that they have seen little or no change in their use of Sanger sequencing: 15 labs reported that there has been no change in their Sanger use, while 12 labs reported that their use of Sanger sequencing has actually increased.

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