DIALOG On the High Value of Low Standards


Is there a case to be made for draft sequencing? First, we need to get a fix on how much less it costs than complete genome sequencing, how much faster and/or easier it is to do, and how much and what types of scientific utility are sacrificed. But this is not a straightforward issue. No accepted standard for draft sequence data exists; in current practice it ranges from 3-fold coverage in short (400-bp), uncorre-lated reads to 10-fold or more in long (600-bp), “paired-end ” (PE) reads (sequencing reads are taken from both ends of the insert in a double-stranded vector and therefore come in oppositely directed pairs separated by an approximately known distance) of mixed separation lengths. Quality differences over that spectrum are relatively great, as are, though to a much smaller extent, cost differences. The “draft-or-finish ” alterna-tives are hardly exclusive; mixed, staged, or context-dependen

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