Beginner’s guide to DNA sequencing

Model DNA moleculeGenetic engineering and DNA sequencing are regular features in our news posts here at Futurismic, and in many other venues much less explicitly future-focussed. The technology of life’s tiny building blocks is steadily becoming ubiquitous – hell, you can even buy a DNA synthesizer on eBay [via Paul McAuley] – but it’s still a pretty hardcore scientific discipline, one that takes years of study and research to fully understand.

Luckily for us curious laypersons, Ars Technica is running a series of articles aiming to explain the basics of genetic science in terms that we should be able to grasp – though a basic high-school level understanding of science is probably still a prerequisite to get the best out of it. The first instalment is all about the basic principles of DNA sequencing – the underlying ideas that the latest and greatest methods are built upon. Some of the diagrams and chemical names might be a bit intimidating, but it’s a well-written piece and worth persisting with if you’re genuinely curious about how it all works. [image by net_efekt]