Life Technologies expanded their NGS portfolio with the acquisition of Ion Torrent and their first system, the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) sequencer, in 2010. While this technology uses a sequencing-by-synthesis method and emulsion PCR (emPCR) similar to other platforms, it differs in that it doesn’t use fluorescence or chemiluminescence. Instead, it measures the H+ ions released during base incorporation. The lack of any optics has allowed Ion Torrent to rapidly expand the output from their systems by approximately 10-fold every six months. This rapid pace of improvement, along with fast runs of about 2 hours and inexpensive consumables has made Ion Torrent a popular new platform.

The initial chips generate far fewer reads and much less output than the likes of HiSeq or SOLiD, so the focus so far has been on small genomes and targeted sequencing. However, they have announced a new system and new chips that will allow them to push into the high throughput territory of whole genome sequencing by the end of the year.

For more information, visit Ion Torrent Website

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