What is DNA sequencing?
DNA contains the instructions needed to make living organisms. It is made of nucleotides which have 3 parts: a sugar, a phosphate, and a base. There are 4 main types of bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). The nucleotides are
linked together into a chain. DNA sequencing tells us the order of the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs. The order of the bases determines what is made from the DNA instructions. The order, or sequence, tells scientists which sections of DNA encode genes that
will be made into proteins and which sections will become regulatory elements. The genetic sequence determines an organism’s phenotype—what it looks like and how it functions. Changes in the sequence can cause disease.
Benefits of DNA sequencing with NGS
DNA sequencing initially involved determining one small piece of an organism’s sequence at a time, like adding one piece to a jigsaw puzzle at a time. Next generation sequencing enables researchers to determine the whole genetic sequence of a sample at the same time. Imagine hundreds of people putting together the same jigsaw puzzle but without getting in each other’s way. Multiple sequencing reactions happening at
the same time is called parallel sequencing.