Yesterday, we launched a new version of the high-throughput sequencing map. I promised when it launched that when sufficient updates were received we would release instrument statistics. We have now received 214 updates from the community – thank you so much! So, without further ado, check out the statistics tables!
Some bottom-line numbers: there are (as of a minute ago) 669 machines listed in the database, spanning 250 sequencing facilities, an average of 2.7 machines per centre (a bit like a UK family having an average of 2.4 children!)
The take-home message which won’t surprise anyone is that Illumina are still dominating the market-place. 406 GA2s are accounted for, making up about 60% of our sample. This means they have shipped nearly four times as many sequencers as their two main rivals, Roche’s 454 and Life Technologies’ SOLiD.
Perhaps more interestingly is the battle for 2nd place. According to our sample Roche are just edging SOLiD with 118 machines to 110 but the competition is intense. This indicates that SOLiD have made up a huge amount of ground in the past year or two. Pretty good for a machine we wrote off as being the “worst of both worlds” last August. It is not clear to me how they have managed this impressive feat (although I have heard some rather uncharitable possibilities from people), but it is good news for Life Technologies that they have stayed in the game and are apparently gaining traction. The battle ain’t over yet.
About half the 454 and Solexas are in dedicated genome centres like the Broad, BGI and the Sanger Centre, but only about a third of SOLiDs are in dedicated genome centres, suggesting this platform has gained popularity in the smaller facilities. The largest SOLiD installation that we know about is at the University of Queensland with 11 machines.
There’s much less good news for Helicos – the Heliscope’s early entrance into the so-called “3rd generation” market appears to have gained virtually no traction in the market at all, with only 8 machines accounted for on the map.
Country-wise, the US still dominates the world with 46% of the machines in North America. We are pleased to see that the UK is well-represented with 95 machines and 29 facilities, although there is probably a bias as we hail from these isles.
China are the current world #3 in terms of sequencing machines but this is likely to change very soon when BGI start taking delivery of their HiSeq 2000 instruments, with 128 apparently on pre-order. Hopefully someone from BGI will come and update the map when they arrive.
And of course, we expect this map to have a few new faces in a years time with at least Pacific Biosystems and perhaps Ion Torrent bringing their products to market.
No doubt you can find other interesting nuggets in the stats, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Finally, a plea. If you see inaccurate or missing information on the map, please don’t complain, just get involved! This is a community resource that relies on your help. It’s really easy to add and update details on the map and if you have problems just get in touch.
One last caveat, I am not saying there are only 669 machines in the wild, the real number is conservatively likely to be 4- or 5-times this. We want to confront this problem head on and find out exactly what sampling we have got to help know how far the map has to go before it is complete.
Therefore we have set up the the great high-throughput sequencing serial number challenge. Taking inspiration from the German tank problem we wish to accurately estimate the numbers of machines shipped by reference to machine serial numbers. This was inspired by a recent thread on SeqAnswers.com. By allowing anonymous submissions we hope to collect a statistically useful set of serial numbers. Help us out, please visit the site and help us out by submitting your serial numbers!