Choosing a good genome sequencing provider can often be tricky to determine up front. There are many vendors in this space that focus on various research areas, making it hard to see if they are a good fit for your project.
In order to filter out the average from the great, we have compiled a short list of concepts and questions to review with your new potential providers.
Clarity is key on both sides of genome sequencing. You’ll want to make sure you give the provider clear details about your work and they, in turn, should be able to answer your questions in a way that reflects experience and confidence.
It is important you lay out your project expectations with enough clarity in order for the provider to be able to answer your questions properly. Explain the context and objectives of your project in detail, the reference genome you’d like to use, and any other specific information that will help illuminate the project goals. If the provider is a good fit for the project, they will offer informative answers to each of your questions.
On the flip side, when engaging a sequencing provider, look at how they answer your questions. Are they clear and concise? Do they provide enough technical background? Have they done these types of projects before? If you don’t feel like they have the skills or experience to handle your work properly, you may want to look elsewhere.
Speed and frequency are very important factors in any project. It’s key that a sequencing provider has a quick communication turnaround time as this shows commitment and focus to the customer. Too often are providers taking multiple days or even weeks to respond. A good sequencing provider responds quickly.
It’s not only important to reply quickly, but reply often. Your provider should communicate on a routine basis throughout the project to keep you up to date. Both in the sales cycle as well as throughout the project, the service provider should be checking in (even if nothing has changed). These attributes make for a successful partnership and service provider relationship.
Genome sequencing is becoming a commodity and if the service provider is charging you for every individual service, it’s likely they aren’t going to be a good long-term partner. Costs will add up and be attached to your project ultimately increasing the overall cost.
Basic bioinformatics very rarely goes wrong, so the cost should also reflect the low risk, low computing cost, and low time involvement. Bioinformatics work, such as alignment and variant analysis, should be relatively inexpensive and are fairly easy to run. High charges for this kind of work should be a red flag that you may be paying more than you need to.
It’s a reasonable expectation to have your project completed within a few weeks to a month depending on the scale of work. If a service provider is taking months to perform your sequencing, it’s likely not worth the time to engage them.
Most sequencing protocols take a few days to run and the company should schedule appropriately. When evaluating a provider the recommended turnaround times will range between 5-25 business days. Most good companies average between 10-20 business days.
While the sequencing service provider market may be a bit complex based on your work, these standard questions can help give you a solid baseline evaluation. Clarity on both ends of the relationship should be established before you commit to any sequencing contract so both parties are set up to succeed. Certain projects can be more complicated than others and you’ll want to have the speed and communication from your provider to pivot accordingly. With these aspects founded early on your project will be better set up for success.
Want to see if The Sequencing Center is a good fit for your next research project? Contact us and let’s discuss your needs.