Illumina (ILMN) is a global leader in genome sequencing solutions. Genome sequencing is used to solve several complex problems in research and daily life.
The diagram above shows the various market opportunities available for genome sequencing.
What is genome sequencing?
According to Illumina, “the instruction set for all living cells is encoded in deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. The complete set of DNA for any organism is referred to as its genome.” All DNA consists of smaller units called nucleotides, present in a particular order called a sequence.
Nucleotide sequences, which determine a person’s physical characteristics such as height, hair, and eye color, can also lead to genetic diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. Illumina analyzes the correlation between these sequences and their expression in the human body. This research can then be used by other biotechnology companies such as Amgen (AMGN), Biogen (BIIB), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) for exploring new drugs targeting genetic conditions.
Types of genome sequencing
Illumina offers a variety of genome services such as whole-genome and de novo sequencing, as well as targeted resequencing of specific gene regions. Whole-genome sequencing involves studying an organism’s complete DNA sequence. De novo sequencing is studying an organism’s DNA sequence without any prior sequencing information of that species. Targeted resequencing involves comparing a portion of a gene sequence to a reference sequence to understand genetic variations.
Investors can get diversified exposure to Illumina’s unique genome sequencing business and avoid company-specific risks by investing in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB). Illumina accounts for 4.09% of its total holdings.