History of Sequencing Technology

A nice article on the history of the automated DNA sequencing machine in a recent issue of The Scientist.  The article goes back through some of the major technological advancements, including the switch from radioactive nucleotides to fluorescently-labeled nucleotides and the switch from slab gels to capillary electrophoresis.  Some interesting factoids are sprinkled throughout, such as this one:

"Applied Biosystem’s first instrument contained 16 lanes and could sequence up to 6,400 bases in 24 hours; the latest generation technology, the model 3730, with appropriate upstream automation, can spell out up to 2 million base pairs in the same time period, and at half the cost of the earlier model 3700."

The article includes an excellent interactive graphic explaining the different components of an capillary-based automated genome sequencing machine.

Alison McCook, The Automated DNA Sequencer, The Scientist Aug 29th, 2005. (sorry subscription only)

(Thanks to Lei of the Genetics and Public Health Blog for the pointer)


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