Thomas P. Niedringhaus, et al., Landscape of Next-Generation Sequencing Technologies, Analytical Chemistry 83, 2011
First-generation sequencing encompasses the chain termination method pioneered by Sanger and Coulson in 1975.
Second-generation technologies rely upon sequencing by ligation or sequencing by synthesis, including pyrosequencing and reversible chain termination.
As of this writing, Illumina dominates the market with 60% of the second-generation sequencer installations, while Life Technologies’ SOLiD system and Roche split nearly all of the remaining market at 19% each.
Ion Torrent’s technology, on the other hand, uses ion-sensitive field effect transistors (ISFETs) to eliminate the need for optical detection of sequencing events. Nano pore technologies, such as Oxford Nanopore, also aim to remove optics as well the need for DNA amplification in their sequencing design by measuring changes in conductivity across a nanopore.
While second- and third-generation platforms boast considerable throughput, Sanger-based CE sequencing is still the gold standard for ultrahigh-accuracy sequencing and is the only technique that has so far provided both de novo sequencing and the de novo assembly of a human genome.