4 Ways Next Generation DNA Sequencing is Used

Methods for more rapid sequencing of DNA have been of great benefit in advancing many aspects of science and medicine. DNA sequencing is the process for detecting the order of the base compounds within a DNA molecule – the sequence which determines the genetic messages in our cells.

Next Generation Sequencing
New methods for DNA sequencing began to appear in the late 1990s and became commercially available by the year 2000. NGS is actually a catch-all term for all of these disparate but enhanced methods. NGS is also known as high-throughput sequencing, in that it allows DNA sequencing to be done much more quickly and cheaply than previous methods such as Sanger sequencing. NGS technology has revolutionized the study and applications of genetics.
More, better, and faster results have led to more productive uses in a number of fields.

1. Metagenomics
This field of genetic research is focused on identifying and investigating the large number of microorganisms and other creatures that can be found in samples of water, dirt, sewage, and particles in the air. Knowing which organisms are present and how they function within these ecosystems provides insights into marine biology, agriculture, various types of bacteria, and much more.

2. Medicine
One of the benefits of NGS to medicine is more effective testing for the inherent risk of developing a number of genetic diseases. Sequencing of entire genomes information allows researchers to identify genetic changes, disease correlations, and potential treatments. DNA sequencing makes it possible to design treatments for each person’s specific genetic makeup.
3. Evolutionary biology
DNA can provide a great deal of information on the transition from one generation to the next, allowing scientists to track descent going all the way back to human origins, and perhaps beyond. Samplings from millions of people in various cultures around the world go into genetic databases, and with NGS, companies are appearing that can provide anyone a picture of their ancestry for a small fee.

4. Forensics
DNA has become an essential tool in law enforcement. Even minute traces dubbed “touch DNA” can be compared to criminal databases, with felons now required to submit DNA samples. NGS allowing this to be done more quickly has made progress in a huge backload of criminal cases. In some instances new DNA evidence has led to the release of wrongly convicted persons.

NGS is a more effective tool in developing new understanding of the living world around and within us, from useful bacteria strains to revolutionary new medicines. DNA is remarkable in that it not only identifies but lays out the unique blueprint for every one of us. NGS helps to set important scientific research on a more rapid pace.