Improved analytical power
Up to now, the standard for 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing were amplicons covering a maximum of 3 variable regions using read lengths of up to 500 bases.
With the availability of the superior GS FLX+ system, however, this will change.
The consequence of the much longer, Sanger-like read length generated here, is that more information is generated per read.
Over 80% of the reads cover 3 and 46% of the reads cover 4 variable regions (see Table 1). Experiments to further maximize the FLX+ data output are still ongoing.