Shotgun sequencing comes of age

sequence helps settle debate over shotgun versus clone-by-clone sequencing.

Tabitha Powledge(
Dec 30, 2002

With little fanfare, the much-debated sequencing method known as whole-genome shotgun (WGS) has become a conventional way to sequence genomes. Two studies out this month help to confirm its importance.

Early this month, the publicly funded mouse genome project showed that WGS could yield a high-quality draft sequence — one superior to the first draft of the human genome. And in a paper published December 23 in Genome Biology (a publication of The Scientist's partner, BioMed Central), Susan Celniker and colleagues report that the WGS method has produced a Drosophila sequence approaching the standard that the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has set for finished sequence — less than 1 error per 10,000 base pairs. This third, and "finished", version of the Drosophila genome — which was the first metazoan genome sequenced predominantly by the WGS method — now averages 1.09 errors per 10,000 base pairs.