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Almost all of the papers about bioinformatics, I faced with the high-throughput word, but I could not find any explanation about it (I think it is so easy to understand and that's why anyone explains it but I could not do it ) . Is there anyone who can explain me what do they mean by high-throughput ? Thanks in advance.

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High-throughput sequencing specifically refers to sequencing techniques like Illumina that allow you to sequence massive amounts of DNA at once (hundreds of thousands of strands), as opposed to older techniques such as cloning the cDNA in plasmids, followed by sequencing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Shotgun sequencing uses Sanger sequencing protocol. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 4 '15 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, yes it does. I was not implying that shotgun sequencing is a high-throughput method. I'll edit my answer to reflect that $\endgroup$ – C_Z_ Mar 4 '15 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry. I got confused. Clear now. But still Sanger sequencing is not really low throughput. It is still high-throughput but not as efficient as Illumina. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 4 '15 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, what would be a good example of a low throughput technique then? $\endgroup$ – C_Z_ Mar 4 '15 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ PCR, western blots, ELISA, Bradford assay etc are all low throughput techniques. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 4 '15 at 20:57
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High-throughput, as indicated by canadianer in their comments refers to amount of data that is processed by the system. Though the answer by CactusWoman would be correct for the case of DNA sequencing, high-throughput is not really confined to that domain.

Any high-throughput technique tries to measure several variables simultaneously. The examples include, other than the Next Gen DNA sequencing, RNA sequencing, protein identification and quantification by mass spectrometry (LC-MS), lipid profiling by GC-MS etc.

There are also medium-throughput techniques that can measure several variables but much less than high-throughput techniques. Many low-throughput techniques can be converted to medium-throughput by some level of automation and experimental planning. Example would include real-time PCR.

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There is nothing particular about the bioinformatic use of this term; it is normal English not specialised jargon. 'Throughput' simply means the rate at which something can be processed. A high throughput system is one which handles things at a high rate, and it could be equally applied to genome sequencing, a city transit network, the ticketing gates at a football match, a factory processing potatoes into chips (fries), or the processor in your computer.

In biology, though, throughput usually refers to the rate at which samples can be processed. A 'low' throughput method is therefore one that can takes a longer time to carry out, can only be applied to a few samples, or needs to be repeated in order to obtain a full set of measurements of different factors. A 'high' throughput method is simply a faster method, which allows a greater number of samples to be processed in the same, or less, time. This can be achieved by working faster, processing multiple samples at once, or simultaneously handling multiple aspects of the same sample.

Note that there is no definition of when something becomes 'high throughput'; it is simply 'high' relative to earlier methods, although you would usually expect it only to be applied when the new method is many times faster than the existing method, not a small incremental improvement.

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High-throughput sequencing specifically refers to sequencing techniques like Illumina that allow you to sequence massive amounts of DNA at once means hundreds of thousands of strands. Producing multitude of data sequence simultaneously.

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    $\begingroup$ can you add a reference? $\endgroup$ – Vance L Albaugh Apr 23 '17 at 19:30

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