Illumina’s MiSeq.

Really, I have nothing to add here.  Keith Robinson on the Omics! Omics! blog has already said it all – right down to the email from Illumina’s PR person.

Admittedly, the poster they sent is quite pretty, but as always, I’m waiting to see how the instrument performs in other people’s hands.  (Though, that’s not to say I doubt the results, but I have been bitten by Illumina’s optimistic reports in the past – with specific emphasis on shipping dates for software.)

At this point in the game, we’ve now entered into a long protracted arms race, with each company trying to out-perform the others, but with very few new features.  Improving chemistry, longer reads,  cheaper per-base costs, faster sequencing time and better base qualities will continue to ratchet up – so the MiSeq is Illumina raising the bar again.  Undoubtedly we’ll continue to see other competitors showing off their products for the next few years, trying to push into the market.  (A market which grows to include smaller labs every time they can reduce the cost of the machine, the sequencing, and the bioinformatics overhead.)

However, let me say that we’ve certainly come a long way from the single end 22bp reads that I first saw from the Solexa machines in 2008.   mmmmm… PET 151bp reads in 27 hours. *drool*.

Edit:  Oops.  I missed the link to Illumina’s page for the MiSeq.  Yes, it’s exactly what you’d expect to see on a vendor page, but they do have a link to the poster on the left hand side so that you can check it out for yourself.