ZS Genetics was acquired by Genetics Research, and no longer appears to be operating or developing a sequencing platform. They were developing a single molecule sequencer based on annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (ADF-STEM). Since native DNA is invisible to the STEM imager, their strategy was to incorporate ‘ZSG labels’, modified nucleotides with heavy atoms or other compounds to make them visible. The modified nucleotides would be incorporated via a template-directed DNA polymerase (essentially a single round of PCR). In a proof of principle study published in October 2012, they demonstrated the incorporation and visualization of mercury-labeled dUTP in a 7Kb+ strand of DNA.
They claimed their system was going to be able to generate reads of up to 50kb and cost ~$300 for a 10X human genome. (While current shorter read technologies generally aim for 30X or higher, the ultra long reads should allow for much lower coverage.) They were aiming for an instrument price in the range of $500k to $700k – in line with other high throughput platforms.
Status: prototype development
Projected commercial availability: unknown
Key Paper: Technology Description: Bell, D.C. et al. (2012) DNA Base Identification by Electron Microscopy. Microscopy and Microanalysis 18, 1049-1053
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