Application of next-generation sequencing technologies in virology

Illumina beads As you are ploughing your way through research papers you will come across the strange language of NGS (next- generation sequencing). 454, SOLiD, Illumina – what does it all mean? Unless you are involved in the field you won’t know, and if you were involved in the field more than a few months ago, you’ll be out of date. Fortunately this nice review article in the Journal of General Virology is easy to understand and will bring you bang up to date.

 

Application of next-generation sequencing technologies in virology. J Gen Virol. 30 May 2012
The progress of science is punctuated by the advent of revolutionary technologies that provide new ways and scales to formulate scientific questions and advance knowledge. Following on from electron microscopy, cell culture, and PCR, next generation sequencing is one of these methodologies that is now changing the way we understand viruses, particularly in the areas of genome sequencing, evolution, ecology, discovery and transcriptomics. Possibilities for these methodologies are only limited by our scientific imagination, and to some extent, by their cost, which has restricted their use to a relatively small numbers of samples. Challenges remain, including the storage and analysis of the large amounts of data generated. As the chemistries employed mature, costs will decrease. In addition, improved methods for analysis will become available opening yet further applications in virology including routine diagnostic work on individuals, and new understanding of the interaction between viral and host transcriptomes. An exciting era of viral exploration has begun, and will set us new challenges to understand the role of newly discovered viral diversity in both disease and health.

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