Strobe sequencing is one of the three sequencing protocols of the PacBio RS that researchers have been waiting for some time. By switching the data acquisition on and off, the machine sequences stretches of DNA in bursts. On periods generate the so called strobe subreads while off periods determine the distance between individual subreads. The most important application of strobe sequencing is the improvement of de novo assemblies by scaffolding contigs.
However, recently, PacBio’s CEO Hugh Martin announced that the company will no longer focus on further development of this technology. As the PacBio RS chemistry upgrade which is planned for Q4 will deliver average read length of 2700 bp with 5 % of reads > 5100 bp, strobe sequencing is getting more and more obsolete.
The performance of the protocol still is a challenge in praxis as early-access customers reported in May in Genomeweb. This is in accordance with our experience. First, sequencing does only generate few thousands of reads per SMRT cell, and second, many reads are observed having only one or two subreads.