A new commentary in Genome Biology from highly respected scientific authors, including a Nobel Prize winner, highlights the benefits of Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) Sequencing. The commentary, entitled “The advantages of SMRT sequencing,” comes from Richard Roberts at New England BioLabs, Mauricio Carneiro at the Broad Institute, and Michael Schatz at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
The authors begin with the premise that the PacBio® RS is sometimes overlooked as a next-generation sequencing option, even though it serves as “ideal approach to the complete sequencing of small genomes.”
The commentary focuses on three advantages of SMRT Sequencing: extraordinarily long reads, methylation data, and high accuracy in conjunction with lack of sequencing bias. The scientists note the importance of long reads for de novo genome assemblies and for sequencing through repeats and other complex regions. Because SMRT Sequencing can directly detect chemical base modifications to RNA and DNA, such as methylation, the authors state that the technology provides key functional information through the sequencing process. Finally, they highlight the lack of systematic bias in this sequencing method; as a result, “SMRT sequencing provides a highly accurate statistically averaged consensus perspective of the genome, as it is highly unlikely that the same error will be randomly observed multiple times,” they write.
The authors say that all of these factors “make a strong case for combining the more traditional, sequence-dense data from other technologies with at least moderate coverage of SMRT data so that genomes can be improved, their methylation patterns obtained, and the functional activity of their methyltransferase genes deduced.” They conclude, “SMRT sequencing opens a new window that may have a dramatic effect on our understanding of this biology.”