Applications of next-generation sequencing technologies to diagnostic virology

Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(11):7861-84. doi: 10.3390/ijms12117861. Epub 2011 Nov 14.


Novel DNA sequencing techniques, referred to as "next-generation" sequencing (NGS), provide high speed and throughput that can produce an enormous volume of sequences with many possible applications in research and diagnostic settings. In this article, we provide an overview of the many applications of NGS in diagnostic virology. NGS techniques have been used for high-throughput whole viral genome sequencing, such as sequencing of new influenza viruses, for detection of viral genome variability and evolution within the host, such as investigation of human immunodeficiency virus and human hepatitis C virus quasispecies, and monitoring of low-abundance antiviral drug-resistance mutations. NGS techniques have been applied to metagenomics-based strategies for the detection of unexpected disease-associated viruses and for the discovery of novel human viruses, including cancer-related viruses. Finally, the human virome in healthy and disease conditions has been described by NGS-based metagenomics.

Keywords: deep sequencing; drug resistance; human immunodeficiency virus; metagenomics; minority variants; molecular diagnosis; next generation sequencing; quasispecies; virology; virome; virus discovery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Viral*
  • HIV / genetics*
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / genetics*
  • Metagenomics / methods
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis*