Illumina announced the MiSeq today. A direct aim at Ion Torrent’s PGM and Roche’s 454 GS Junior and a strong bid for the potentially lucrative clinical diagnostics by sequencing marketplace.
As always we should be cautious about the specs before the machine is in the hands of any users, but on paper they have (in my opinion) the most compelling offering of the 3. I’m discounting Life’s SOLiD PI from the equation.
The machine is coming in at $125k with a run cost of $400-$750 depending on setup. Read length is up to 2 x 150bp reads, 1Gb of sequence and 6.5M reads per run.
The major innovation here is the run time, between 4 hours (fragment 35bp) and 27 hours (150bp paired-end) which has neutralised the major criticism of the Illumina platform (the MiSeq’s big brother can run for up to 2 weeks).
Crucially, this number includes the cluster generation (amplification) stage unlike the 2 hour figure for Ion Torrent which depends on bead-based emulsion PCR being completed first.
Although the machine is a bit pricier than Ion Torrent, you’ll need a lot less ancillary lab equipment to get it working. And you won’t have to spend days agonising why your emulsion PCR failed.
Ion Torrent now need to urgently juice their throughput to respond to this machine. Look for the 316 chips being rushed to market and a new one announced.
Roche just need to do something – anything – to get back in the game. Their only advantage right now is read length (a win mainly for PCR amplicon studies) but I predict this advantage will not last long.
I’ll sign off with this great quote from John Hawks:
Put these things together, and personal genomics today is where personal computing was in 1973. We haven’t yet had an Altair, much less an Apple 2. But it’s almost in reach.