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Types and Applications of DNA Sequencing

Published Date : June 20, 2017


There are four building blocks of DNA called nucleotides (As, Ts, Cs, and Gs); the method of determining their natural order is known as DNA sequencing. The study of the order of nucleotides will inform the scientists more about the genetic information that a DNA strand carries. If the scientists are successful in this mission it will enable them to remove a particular trait from the DNA or to add a trait. For example if a disease is hereditary in a family then the child will most likely suffer from the same disease that the parent carries, but with DNA sequencing the particular disease could be removed from the DNA chain and the child would grow up free of the disease.

Market for DNA Sequencing

DNA sequencing particularly the next-generation sequencing (NGS) has grown into a practice of essential life science subject for researches on the genetic level. The global market for DNA sequencing was evaluated at USD 6.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 9 billion by 2020. The market driving factor for this technology is the research for curing cancer, apart from that infectious disease and reproductive health are also fuelling the market. It is due to these factors that the global market for DNA sequencing is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% for the next 5 years.

Currently North America holds the largest share in the international market but the Asia Pacific region would soon leave it behind due to the increasing demand for personalized medicine and rising awareness among the people.

Types of Sequencing, their uses and limitations

  • Maxam-Gilbert sequencing: Not used anymore due to very less efficient and high costs when compared to Sanger sequencing.
  • Sanger sequencing or Chain termination sequencing: High quality sequencing, for long strands of DNA. But very expensive and inefficient for very large scale sequencing.
  • Next generation sequencing: Enables parallel sequencing,it means multiples reactions could be done at the same time and it also costs lesser than Sanger sequencing.
  • Shotgun sequencing: This method could analyse an entire chromosome by breaking down the DNA and rearranging them over matching parts.

Applications of DNA sequencing

  • Disease control: Ebola and Cancer can be fought off with due research in this technology. This research enables the scientists to decode the disease and finding its cure.
  • Finding out human origins: Evolution is laid bare to human eyes by the study of DNA strands.
  • Saving wildlife: Enables the researchers to monitor the health and nudge the reproduction of endangered species to populate the wild regions.
  • Forensics: A criminal could be identified if a hair, a drop of blood or even a part of nail is found at the crime scene.
  • Agriculture: Some bacteria have been marked as being particularly useful to the agriculture and studying their DNA had made it possible to raise the crop yields and production.