Superscale pyrosequencer for 2009/2010 full genome sequencing

Mostafa Ronaghi, one of the inventors of this sequencing chemistry, group at Stanford is working on an inexpensive superscaler pyrosequencer. It would use $10 CMOS imaging instead of $100,000 CCDs. The objective is to run 400 million sequencing reactions in parallel that can produce between 60 and 100 gigabases of data per run with 200-base reads with all inefficiencies included. With that, you could basically sequence one human genome in a single run with 20x coverage. The researchers are optimizing the current system and hope to achieve this goal within three years.

In the next two years they plan to reduce the size of the beads used in the sequencing reactions from 30 microns to 10 microns, and use them with a 20-megapixel sensor they want to develop. After that, they want to put 20 of these chips side-by-side to develop the superscaler pyrosequencer.

Ronaghi is collaborating with an undisclosed California-based startup company to automate the upfront sample preparation of the device. “Sample preparation is probably one of the main bottlenecks for emerging technologies [like this],” he said.