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Updated Polonator Is Ready for Rollout; Price: $170K


About a year after first presenting the Polonator sequencer to the scientific community and shipping instruments to early-access users, Dover, a Danaher Motion company, is now ready to sell an upgraded version of the instrument to a wide range of customers.

This spring, the company, which has been co-developing the low-cost, non-proprietary, high-throughput sequencing platform with George Church's group at Harvard Medical School, shipped an instrument to the University of Utah, its fifth customer to date and the first lab outside the early-access circle of users.

Over the next year or so, the developers plan to make additional improvements, including reagent kits, increased read lengths, and a simpler library preparation protocol. By 2010, they expect the output per run to increase 10-fold, to 100 gigabases.

The recent upgrades, which include changes to the flow cell, fluidics, operating software, and instrument cover, resulted from feedback from early-access customers, according to Kevin McCarthy, chief technology officer of Dover. "It took longer than we expected to address the issues raised in our early-adopter phase, but all changes have been implemented, and we now have a robust, high-performance sequencer," he says.

Without bead enrichment, the instrument currently generates more than 10 million mappable reads per flow cell lane, or about 5 gigabases of data per run, based on 2x13-base gapped paired-end reads and two 8-lane flow cells. Bead enrichment is expected to double the output per run to 10 gigabases, according to McCarthy.

Consumables costs for generating a megabase of data, or 40,000 sequence tags, are currently $1, and are expected to drop approximately 10-fold over the next year, he says. The instrument itself now costs $170,000, which is $20,000 more than a year ago, due to price increases for a number of components, including the camera. Setup costs are not included in this price.

— Julia Karow


$17 million
Amount of new grant funding from the Japanese government that will allow the RIKEN Omics Science Center to expand its DNA sequencing infrastructure.

Sequencing notes

The National Cancer Institute plans to expand two cancer genome sequencing projects thanks to stimulus funding. The Cancer Genome Atlas project is expected to now include 20 to 25 tumor types, and the institute will apply next-generation sequencing to at least 100 tumor samples for its TARGET initiative.

Life Technologies reported "high double-digit growth" in first-quarter revenue from SOLiD sequencing systems along with increased revenues from capillary electrophoresis instruments and consumables. Meantime, Illumina said it shipped "a record number" of sequencers during the first quarter, noting that the Broad Institute acquired 22 additional GAs, while the Beijing Genomics Institute purchased 12 additional instruments.

Funded grants

$430,880/FY 2008
Designs and Methods for Sequence-Based Validation Analysis
Grantee: Lue Ping Zhao, Fred Hutchinson Cancer
Research CenterBegan: Sep. 25, 2008; Ends: Jun. 30, 2011

According to the abstract, the short-term goal of this project "is to develop novel statistical designs that -enable researchers to design cost-effective study designs to validate GWAS discoveries using resequencing technologies" and "to develop statistical methods for assessing DNA sequence data features."

$462,728/FY 2008
Statistical Methods for the Design and Interpretation of Deep Resequencing Studies
Grantee: Shamil Sunyaev, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Began: Sep. 30, 2008; Ends: Jun. 30, 2011

The National Institute of Mental Health awarded this grant to Sunyaev to develop new statistical methods for targeted and genome-wide sequencing approaches, including "identifying causal variants inside a targeted region, such as a GWAS peak or candidate gene" and "to optimally capture the association signal."

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