Next-generation Sequencing for Beginners

Next-generation sequencing for beginners

Learn the basics of next-generation sequencing and find tips for getting started

Next-gen sequencing is revolutionizing research around the globe

What is NGS?

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a modern method of analyzing genetic material that allows for the rapid sequencing of large amounts of DNA or RNA. Unlike traditional sequencing techniques, NGS can simultaneously sequence millions of small fragments of DNA, enabling researchers to expand the scale and discovery power of their genomic studies1-3.

Watch video: Impact of NGS

Enhance your discovery power with next-generation sequencing

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is revolutionizing scientific research with its remarkable precision and extensive genomic analysis capabilities. Lower sequencing costs, coupled with user-friendly benchtop sequencing systems, makes NGS an accessible option for labs of all sizes. It’s a powerful, yet cost-efficient choice for sequencing large gene sets, offering researchers critical biological insights more efficiently than traditional methods.1-3 And with simple sequencing and data analysis tools, you don’t need to be an expert to get started.

NGS vs Sanger sequencing

Learn the key differences between the technologies and see when NGS can be a more effective option.


Learn how NGS brings more advantages in quantification compared to qPCR, while offering unbeatable discovery power.

Advantages of RNA-Seq technology

Find out why RNA sequencing with NGS offers wide dynamic range and high sensitivity for detecting novel transcripts.

More discovery power at a lower cost

NGS is more accessible than ever, with costs decreasing and publications on the rise.4-6 There has never been a better time for beginners to start using NGS.

96% decrease in the average cost-per-genome.4,5

87% increase in publications using NGS since 2013.6

100s of expert core facilities and service providers across North America alone.7

What's interesting and exciting is the versatility of NGS approaches. It's unbelievable the amount of discovery that can come from just a single piece of equipment, like a sequencer, and how many different questions you could use that one tool to approach in industry and academia. It's unbelievably cool.

The beauty of NGS is that it provides a very big picture, and then we can find specific things that are surprising that we really want to go deep really opens the door to much wider possibilities, and then it helps us really guide in the next steps of research.

Popular NGS resources

Common NGS methods and applications

Thanks to its scale and unbiased discovery power, researchers can use NGS in a variety of basic and translational research areas. By providing a deeper view into a variety of biological systems using diverse sample types, you can expand the scope of your studies and find the answers to your boldest research applications.

Explore NGS applications

Getting started with NGS: The complete guide

Curious about using NGS for your research? While adopting a new technology may seem intimidating, we’ve created a comprehensive, yet easy-to-follow guide for bringing NGS into your lab. You’ll learn about NGS methods, workflows, data analysis solutions, and more in this step-by-step guide to getting started with NGS.

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Next-gen sequencing is revolutionizing research around the globe

How NGS works

The basic next-generation sequencing process includes fragmenting DNA/RNA into multiple pieces, adding adapters, sequencing the libraries, and reassembling them to form a genomic sequence. In principle, the concept is similar to capillary electrophoresis. The critical difference is that NGS sequences millions and billions of fragments in a massively parallel fashion, improving speed and accuracy while reducing the cost of sequencing.

View video: Illumina sequencing workflow

NGS workflow basics

Next-generation sequencing involves four basic steps: extraction, library preparation, sequencing, and data analysis.

How to get started with NGS

The good news? You don’t need to be an expert to get started with NGS. With streamlined workflows, affordable in-lab benchtop sequencers, and user-friendly automated data analysis software, there’s never been a better time to get started. You’ll also have expert product support at every step, along with a peer community to share use cases and tips. Collaborating with core labs and service providers is another way to get started if you choose to outsource your sequencing.

View video: Getting started with NGS Bringing NGS in-house
Video how to get started with NGS
Related links
“Getting started with NGS” panel discussion

Watch this recorded webinar to learn how to start an NGS project and access game changing discovery power.

Bioinformatics for beginners

Learn how Illumina informatics tools and pipelines reduce complexity for researchers, even those without prior bioinformatics experience.

Benchtop sequencers

Learn more about how Illumina benchtop sequencer can provide a cost-efficient solution for low-throughput applications and for library quality control (QC) prior to large-scale studies.

Choosing an NGS company

Technology is making rapid advances, and you are part of those breakthroughs. What will you need in a next-generation sequencing company?

NGS costs

Next-generation sequencing costs have decreased dramatically. Find resources to help you plan your experimental budget.

Illumina resources and tools

Identify the best approach, manage your workflow, purchase what you need, and get support.

NGS glossary

Use our next-generation sequencing glossary to clarify key terms and important concepts as you plan your sequencing project.

NGS tutorials and tips for beginners

These next-generation sequencing (NGS) tutorials are designed to help you understand key concepts in NGS. With videos, online training, and knowledge articles, we’ll guide you through tips and best practices for library prep, sequencing, and data analysis.

Have specific questions about NGS?

As with anything new, you may have more questions—and we’re ready to answer them. Whether they’re about your specific research focus, lab setup, or data analysis, we’d love to help.

Speak to a specialist

  1. Illumina. NGS vs. qPCR. Accessed March 22, 2023.
  2. Myllykangas S and Hanlee JP. Targeted deep resequencing of the human cancer genome using next-generation technologies. Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev. 2010; 27: 135–158. 
  3. The Scientist. Modern Multiomics: Why, How, and Where to Next? Published May 15, 2023. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  4. 2015; 9(Suppl 1):29-46. Published November 15, 2015. doi:10.4137/BBI.S28991.
  5. 3billion. Whole Genome Sequencing Cost 2023. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  6. National Human Genome Research Institute. DNA Sequencing Costs: Data. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  7. Dimensions. Search term: (NGS AND sequencing) OR “next generation sequencing” OR “next-generation sequencing” OR “massively parallel sequencing” OR “massive parallel sequencing” OR “high-throughput sequencing” OR “high throughput sequencing”, Specified Publication Year, Publication Type: Article.