Scientists at Ion Torrent Systems, a Life Technologies company, published details of the DNA sequencing technology of the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) in Nature last week. This technique consists of an integrated circuit which is able to perform non-optical DNA sequencing. Data is obtained by directly sensing the ions produced by template-directed DNA polymerase synthesis using all-natural nucleotides on the ion chip, which consists of 1.2 million sensors of tiny wells. Ion now features the fastest prep to data analysis workflow of about 8 hours, conveniently about the amount of time a lab tech spends at work on an average day.In the Nature paper they describe the sequencing of different bacteria and the whole genome of Intel co-founder and author of Moore’s law, Dr G. Moore. In this famous law he described a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: “The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.”
The mean coverage of the G. Moore genome was 10.6-fold and 2,598,983 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found. To determine G. Moore’s maternal ancestry, reads were also mapped to human mitochondrial DNA. His mitochondria belong to haplogroup H, the most common in Europe.
“Semiconductor technology has transformed every industry it has touched, from computing to photography to music, and now it’s transforming the life sciences,” said Ion Torrent President and COO Gregg Fergus in a press release. “In just the six months since Ion Torrent launched the Ion Personal Genome Machine sequencer, we have made huge advances and that will continue in the second half of the year when we’ll increase read lengths to 200 base pairs and throughput by another tenfold.”
Life Technologies Corporation announced last week that it is shipping its new 100 Mb Ion 316 chip. it has improved tenfold over six months, a rapid advance that Jonathan Rothberg, Ion Torrent’s founder, attributes to “accumulated Moore’s law.” A new 1 Gb Ion 318 chip will be available in the fourth quarter. Each of the three new chips will work on the same Ion PGM.
Here’s our interview with Greg Lucier, CEO of Life Technologies, just after he unveiled the Ion Torrent at last year’s TEDMED:
Abstract in Nature: An integrated semiconductor device enabling non-optical genome sequencing
Latest ION Torrent press release: Ion Torrent Delivers Tenfold Higher Throughput, Fastest Workflow and Now Ion 314 Chip for Just $99 – All in First Six Months
Product page: Ion Torrent…