According to a just-released survey by Qiagen, sample access and data analysis are the two main choke points named by scientists using next-generation sequencing. They also called workflow complexity and regulatory constraints close seconds.

The survey, Perspectives in Advanced Genetic Analysis, Your Perspective: Results from a Survey about the Future of Sequencing, listed a number of other key findings:

  • Basic biological science research is rapidly moving in the direction of translational research
  • Researchers are planning to perform increasingly more complex sequencing experiments in the future.
  • It takes a village (i.e., close collaborations) to turn discoveries into practical applications
  • Despite the hype, NGS isn’t quite ready for clinical prime time.

Regarding this last point Qiagen reported that “Seventy percent of researchers in our survey said that current NGS workflows are not sufficiently standardized for use in a clinical diagnostic setting.”

The survey also noted that most of the sequencing being carried out is either targeted sequencing or RNA sequencing. Respondents said they expect to focus more on whole-genome analysis rather than exome-level or targeted resequencing runs.

It was also revealed that most of the survey respondents (83%) use the manufacturer of their sequencing instrument for a majority of their tech support. Regarding NGS translational research, consistency of results is the main concern (55%), and 54% of respondents contract out some NGS work (1–50 samples) to a core lab or company.

The Qiagen survey was based on the responses last August of 924 researchers working in the biological sciences. They breakdown was as follows: 51% from academic/university settings, 11% from governmental laboratories, 9% each from biotechnology companies and research hospitals, and 29% from other research environments (e.g., private research institutes and pharmaceutical companies).

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