Benchtop sequencers are making headlines again as Illumina announces its next offering, the MiniSeq. Like its predecessors –GS Junior, PGM, MiSeq, Proton—the MiniSeq aims to provide a smaller footprint with lower instrument and run costs. The instrument is going for $49,500 with run costs between $200 and $300 per sample. The low throughput instrument focuses on targeted DNA and RNA applications. Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) often generates too much data and can be expensive. Low throughput, targeted technologies open the doors to the clinical and diagnostics market – especially when coupled with lower costs and streamlined workflows.
Benefits of Benchtop Sequencers
In addition to cost and footprint, benchtop sequencers are continuously improving workflow simplicity. The industry is competing for the ability to process samples and report results with minimal user intervention. Illumina added another piece to this puzzle last year with the announcement of the NeoPrep for automated library preparation. The MiniSeq puts Illumina a step closer to closing that loop with its own instrument analysis capabilities.
A LIMS System for Genetic Sequencing
Hand in hand with simplified sample processing is the ability to track data from sample receipt through genetic sequencing. An integrated LIMS system reduces errors and hands-on time. Instrument files can be automatically swept and parsed, sample sheets quickly generated and run metrics pulled directly from the instrument. With the flexibility of the Core platform, users are assured they can keep up with the latest and greatest improvements and innovations in workflow automation. New workflows and instruments are easily configured and can quickly be added to Core’s suite of pre-existing workflows.
The Future of Workflow Automation
Project Firefly is another initiative in the Illumina pipeline — a semiconductor sequencing system that will replace emulsion based PCR with Illumina’s sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry. The system will take workflow automation a step further by combining library and sequencing preparation into a single instrument. With such exciting announcements, it will be interesting to see what else the future brings. In the meantime, we look forward to incorporating the MiniSeq into Core’s Illumina NGS Solution.
Request our white paper for more information on Core Informatics in NGS labs.
Nicole Whitney is the Genomics Program Manager at Core Informatics. Prior to Core she spent 6 years sequencing within R&D/Technical Support at 454 Life Sciences, A Roche Company. She has a background in molecular and cell biology with additional focus on applied genomics.