The Add-On Costs of Setting Up a Sequencing Lab

IlluminaHiSeq-2500-1500Loman and his team has come up with yet another brilliant review paper on next-generation sequences.  This time Loman et. al. focus on the “embarrassment of choices” for sequencing bacterial genomes. Not just personal genome sequencers, but also on high-end sequencers like Illumina HiSeq 2000.

An interesting aspect Loman et. al. addressed in the review paper is what are the add-on costs of sequencing for someone interested in setting up a sequencing lab. The cost of sequencing is not just the cost of sequencing machine and the cost of reagents. There is a whole slew of instruments that are needed to keep running the sequencing lab.  Here is the “To Buy” list and its prices.

  • A high-end fluorometer; Life Technologies Qubit: around US$2,00 and or an Agilent Technologies 2100 Bioanalyzer: around $18,000
  • Ultrasonicator for parallel processing (Covaris ~$45,000)
  • liquid-handling robot, the Biomek FX, about  $310,000, or one of the SPRIworks systems, about  $45,000; both from Beckman Coulter).
  • Bead counter for emulsion PCR (up to $20,000) for sequencing on the 454 GS FLX
  • Illumina cBot (about $55,000) for the Genome Analyzer IIx or HiSeq
  • The ULTRA-TURRAX Tube Drive system from IKA ($1,000) for Ion Torrent platform, if the OneTouch system is not used
  • a $5,000 desktop server to store the sequencing data
  • a cluster of servers for analysis ( from $20,000 ).

And yes you also need to worry about air-conditioning units and power supplies for your sequencer and servers. How much do they add up to.

The review paper published in Nature Reviews Microbiology has more useful information other than the standard tech. spec comparisons. For example, Loman et al. compared how well each of the sequencers is suitable for a variety of bacterial genome sequencing projects ranging from sequencing a single strain to sequencing whole genome metagenomics of multiple genomes. Check out

High-throughput bacterial genome sequencing: an embarrassment of choice, a world of opportunity,  Nicholas J. Loman, Chrystala Constantinidou, Jacqueline Z. M. Chan, Mihail Halachev1, Martin Sergeant, Charles W. Penn, Esther R. Robinson and Mark J. Pallen, Nature Biotechnology.

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