State of the Art Nucleic Acid Sequencing Systems

Imagine, if you will, an artist's satisfaction upon completing a potential masterpiece--the colorful presentation of a life experience. For those fortunate few in molecular biology who encounter the "artistry" of nucleic acid sequencing provided by the chromatogram of a successful run, the feelings can be quite similar. Oh, those wonderful colors! But life in the molecular fast lane was not always so aesthetically pleasing. To the pioneers of nucleic acid sequencing, the process was paved with many shades of gray.

One impediment to early sequencing progress was the large size of most nucleic acid molecules. In 1966, Robert Holley published the results of a seven-year project sequencing yeast alanine tRNA, a relatively small molecule consisting of approximately 80 nucleotides.1 Considering the amount of work and time involved, it was truly a masterpiece. RNA sequencing methodologies improved rather quickly, and by 1975,...

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