Sequencing by synthesis (SBS) technology uses four fluorescently-labelled nucleotides to sequence the tens of millions of clusters on the flow cell surface in parallel. During each sequencing cycle, a single labeled deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) is added to the nucleic acid chain. The nucleotide label serves as a terminator for polymerisation, so after each dNTP incorporation, the fluorescent dye is imaged to identify the base and then enzymatically cleaved to allow incorporation of the next nucleotide. Since all four reversible terminator-bound dNTPs (A, C, T, G) are present as single, separate molecules, natural competition minimizes incorporation bias. Base calls are made directly from signal intensity measurements during each cycle, which greatly reduces raw error rates compared to other technologies. The end result is highly accurate base-by-base sequencing that eliminates sequence-context specific errors, enabling robust base calling across the genome, including repetitive sequence regions and within homopolymers.
- ↑ Illumina Inc