DNA at it’s heart is enormous chunks of information. The genome of an organism like yeast, mice or humans contains an ocean of data. DNA is extracted and placed through a sequencing machine which spits out the information into a computer file.
Just as having an aged internet browser affects our productivity the software one uses to interact with these files can have a large impact. These are all tools, the databases, browsers and services, which enable researchers to answer the questions that line our horizon.
The progress of our tools has always directly correlated with our advancement, GeneDrop is at the forefront of the life sciences melding with information technology; a necessity as we discover so much of life is condensed data in every nook.
Most of our progress, like the $999 exome or the success of Complete Genomics has been possible as a result of High-Throughput sequencing, which evolved from the original Sanger sequencing methods. Whereas, Sanger sequencing would spit out few hundred letters of DNA at a time, HT sequencing would spit out much less but at a faster rate. SMRT offers to give us long-reads, thousands of letters, at a fast rate. Several “in-progress” technologies that are promising long-reads range from pulling a DNA strand through nano-pores or using a large single atom that would run across a strand. ZMW (zero-mode waveguide) takes a unique approach in that it uses DNA Polymerase, the default DNA writing nano-machine in our cells to give readings as the strand is being written with fluorescent letters.