Sequencing by Synthesis (SBS) Technology

Introduction to SBS Technology

Introduction to SBS Technology

Illumina sequencing technology, sequencing by synthesis (SBS), is a widely adopted next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology worldwide, responsible for generating more than 90% of the world's sequencing data.1 Illumina sequencing instruments and reagents support massively parallel sequencing using a proprietary method that detects single bases as they are incorporated into growing DNA strands.

SBS Chemistry

A fluorescently labeled reversible terminator is imaged as each dNTP is added, and then cleaved to allow incorporation of the next base. Since all 4 reversible terminator-bound dNTPs are present during each sequencing cycle, natural competition minimizes incorporation bias.2

The end result is true base-by-base sequencing that enables accurate data for a broad range of applications. The method virtually eliminates errors and missed calls associated with strings of repeated nucleotides (homopolymers).

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Further Advantages of SBS Technology

Illumina sequencing by synthesis technology supports both single-read and paired-end libraries. SBS technology offers a short-insert paired-end capability for high-resolution genome sequencing, as well as long-insert paired-end reads for efficient sequence assembly, de novo sequencing, and more.

The combination of short inserts and longer reads increases the ability to fully characterize any genome.

Learn More About SBS Benefits

Illumina Sequencing Introduction

this overview describes major sequencing technology advances, key methods, the basics of Illumina sequencing chemistry, and more.

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Sequencing Techniques

Explore a variety of methods enabled by SBS, from whole-genome to RNA sequencing and more. Find comprehensive workflow solutions.

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Sequencing Techniques

SBS Technology Breakthrough

Find out how 2-channel SBS, a recent evolution of SBS technology, enables faster sequencing than the prior version of Illumina SBS technology, with the same high data accuracy.

Learn More About 2-Channel SBS

Benchtop Sequencing Machine

The NextSeq 550 System enables everyday genome, exome, transcriptome sequencing, and more.

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One-Channel SBS

One-Channel SBS

The Illumina semiconductor sequencing method, also known as one-channel SBS, couples sequencing by synthesis chemistry with complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology.

On the iSeq 100 System, one-channel SBS on a CMOS chip allows for low instrument costs and a small instrument footprint, all while maintaining the high data accuracy of SBS.

Learn More About Semiconductor Sequencing

MiniSeq System

Sequencing Instrument Portfolio

Illumina offers innovative sequencing systems that deliver exceptional data quality and accuracy, at the scale you need.

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Using SBS Technology to Solve Problems

See how researchers are applying Illumina sequencing technology in these areas:

Find the Right Sequencing System

Use our interactive selection tool to identify the right sequencer for your needs.

Launch Tool
NextSeq500 v2 Kits
Improve Your Sequencing Results

NextSeq 500/550 v2.5 Kits offer increased stability and robustness over the v2 kit version.

Patterned Flow Cell Technology
Maximum Throughput

See how patterned flow cell technology dramatically increases sequencing data throughput.

  1. Data calculations on file. Illumina, Inc. 2015.
  2. Bentley DR, Balasubramanian S, Swerdlow HP, et al. Accurate Whole Human Genome Sequencing using Reversible Terminator Chemistry. Nature. 2008; 456 (7218): 53–59.