22 June 2009
The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has launched a consultation on Next Generation Sequencing Technologies, and is seeking comment from “individuals and organisations from the UK’s academic and industrial research community about the potential impacts that these technologies can have on research in biosciences”.
Next generation sequencing is a blanket term used to refer to a group of emerging technologies that seem set to transform genomic research. The Human Genome Project stimulated massive technological development in high-throughput DNA sequencing; with the completion of the human genome sequence, the need for rapid, low-cost genome sequencing has intensified. In recent years novel ‘massively parallel’ technological approaches to sequencing have been developed (see previous news), in response to increasing demand and also to funding incentives for the development of efforts to design platforms capable of completing full genome sequences rapidly and at low cost (see previous news); for example, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) US$1,000 genome initiative (see press release).
It is thought that the impact of next-generation sequencing will be revolutionary, enabling unprecedented genomic analysis and opening up whole new avenues of research not previously possible. At the same time, it poses significant challenges; for example, new requirements for massively enlarged data storage, processing and analysis capacity. This is leading various key organisations to take steps to anticipate required changes and policy development; for example, the recently issued recommendations on the future of DNA sequencing at the NHGRI (see previous news). Similarly, the BBSRC intend to use representations as part of a process of strategic development for promoting effective uptake of new sequencing technologies and opportunities for collaborations and ventures within biomedical research.