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Old 02-24-2012, 09:47 PM   #31
Location: Pacific Northwest

Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 52

Originally Posted by clivey View Post
Thank you for spotting that, it's nice to meet someone with insight.

Yes, that is an important but fairly trivial point which does not seem to have precluded people from skewering previous single-molecule technologies, nor investors for suing the respective companies. The averaging over hundreds of thousands of strands at each site is the very same thing that is liming read lengths in the cluster technologies.

However, the original question was whether this is acceptable for clinical applications. And this is where one has to wonder - what good is a 10kbp read if you only care about 200 bp? If you have to read the 10kbp 50x to get the right accuracy on that 200bp, then the lack of massive parallelization with ONT would seem to start working against them. This would not seem to be ONT's strong point. Am I wrong here?

Finally, on the question of deconvoluting over 3 bases/64 levels. In the limited time I have played with deconvolving signals this is about on the hairy edge of what is doable with a signal with a few percent noise in it and probably explains why ONT has, for the moment, stayed away from 5+ bases. Without seeing an actual "heartbeat trace" it is difficult to judge whether the sated 95% accuracy is typical or best case. Sooner or later the data will be in the wild and we will know. For the moment it pays to remember that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics... and then there are conference papers, particularly at conferences with a strong industrial presence :-)

As I said elsewhere, if only 75% of what they claim is true the achievement is still impressive. The best part for them commercially is the ability to dip your toes and play with the instrument for a relatively low upfront cost. This is also the biggest risk, as the barrier to exit are just as low as the barrier to entrance. If they have overhyped this the reaction will be swift and rather merciless.
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