Imagine capturing the entire human genome in a single day, for a few thousand dollars.
Now researchers in Western Australia will be able to do just that. Yesterday, The University of Western Australia launched its first Hi-Seq 1000 Illumina Deep Sequencer, the most widely used platform worldwide for next generation sequencing. In a single day of use, this new technology will allow researchers to obtain the sequence equivalent of the entire human genome project, which took $4 billion and 10 years to complete more than a decade ago.
It would take a person typing 60 words per minute, eight hours a day about 50 years to type the human genome but this can now all be done in a single day by the new DNA deep sequencers. DNA sequencers are capable of identifying and typing each letter of 6,250 novels in a day.
They provide powerful information. They read every base pair of DNA that makes up an organism, and sort this data into meaningful genetic maps. From this, researchers are making incredible breakthroughs as they discover the genes responsible for diseases in plants and animals, find brand new species and map our evolutionary past.
This will greatly increase our ability to fight disease and to breed a variety of crop species for desired traits, such as increased drought, heat, pest or salinity tolerance, thus allowing producers to respond to environmental change or disease in a more rapid manner.
The possibilities do not end there, as this technology will allow researchers in a variety of fields to investigate and carry out research in any organism.
"A genome sequence is the ultimate genetic map", said Professor Jim Whelan of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology.
"The availability of this technology opens up the sequencing field to ecologists, evolutionary biologists, environmental scientists and a variety of cellular and genetic disciplines. We are no longer tied to just studying model species like mice or the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. It develops our potential to cheaply sequence Individuals in a population, varieties, mutants or clones in a variety of organisms, WA conditions."
Professor James Whelan (ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology) (+61 8) 6488 1749
Alice Trend (Science Communications Officer) (+61 8) 6488 4481
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783