Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS)

With its unprecedented throughput, scalability, and speed, next-generation sequencing enables researchers to study biological systems at a level never before possible.

Today's complex genomic research questions demand a depth of information beyond the capacity of traditional DNA sequencing technologies. Next-generation sequencing has filled that gap and become an everyday research tool to address these questions.

See What NGS Can Do For You

Innovative NGS sample preparation and data analysis options enable a broad range of applications. For example, next-gen sequencing allows you to:

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Accessible Whole-Genome Sequencing

Using capillary electrophoresis-based Sanger sequencing, the Human Genome Project took over 10 years and cost nearly $3 billion.

Next-generation sequencing, in contrast, makes large-scale whole-genome sequencing accessible and practical for the average researcher.

Limitless Dynamic Range for Expression Profiling

NGS makes sequence-based gene expression analysis a “digital” alternative to analog techniques. It lets you quantify RNA expression with the breadth of a microarray and the resolution of qPCR.

Microarray gene expression measurement is limited by noise at the low end and signal saturation at the high end. In contrast, next-generation sequencing quantifies discrete, digital sequencing read counts, offering a virtually unlimited dynamic range.

Compare array and RNA-Seq technology »

Tunable Resolution for Targeted Next-Gen Sequencing

NGS is highly scalable, allowing you to tune the level of resolution to meet specific experimental needs.

Targeted sequencing allows you to focus your research on particular regions of the genome. Choose whether to do a shallow scan across multiple samples, or sequence at greater depth with fewer samples to find rare variants in a given region.

How Does Illumina NGS Work?

Illumina next-generation sequencing utilizes a fundamentally different approach from the classic Sanger chain-termination method. It leverages sequencing by synthesis (SBS) technology – tracking the addition of labeled nucleotides as the DNA chain is copied – in a massively parallel fashion.

Next-gen sequencing generates masses of DNA sequence data that's richer and more complete than is imaginable with Sanger sequencing. Illumina sequencing systems can deliver data output ranging from 300 kilobases up to multiple terabases in a single run, depending on instrument type and configuration.

Learn more about SBS technology »

Recent Evolution of Illumina Next-Gen Sequencing

Recent Illumina next-generation sequencing technology breakthroughs include:

  • 2-channel SBS: This technology enables faster sequencing than the prior version of SBS technology, with the same high data accuracy.
  • Patterned flow cell technology: This option offers an exceptional level of throughput for diverse sequencing applications.
  • Up to 6 terabases (Tb): Learn how the NovaSeq 6000 System offers tunable output of up to 6 Tb in ~2 days*.

*This specification is based on a dual flow cell run of S4 flow cells which have not been released; therefore, performance metrics are subject to change.

Bring Next-Generation Sequencing to Your Lab

The following resources offer valuable guidance to researchers who are considering purchasing an NGS system:


Find the Right Next-Generation Sequencing Platform

Our NGS platform selection tool can help you find the right sequencer for your needs.

NGS Data Analysis Tools

User-friendly BaseSpace Sequence Hub tools make NGS data analysis accessible to any researcher, regardless of bioinformatics experience.
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Sequencing Technology Video

Illumina Sequencing TechnologyIllumina Sequencing Technology
See SBS technology in action.



Specialized Applications of NGS

Explore the use of NGS in the following areas:

Illumina NGS Methods Guide

All the information you need, from library preparation to sequencer selection to analysis. Select the best tools for your lab.
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In-Depth NGS Introduction

Access a detailed introduction to Illumina sequencing.
Read Introduction »

Library Preparation

Innovative NGS library prep solutions are a key part of the Illumina sequencing workflow.

Sequencing Services

Illumina offers whole-genome sequencing services, with additional sequencing services available through our partnerships.
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