Single molecule real-time sequencing with the PacBio RS

I attended a talk by Dr Stephen Turner, the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Pacific Biosciences, promoting PacBio’s SMRT (Single Molecule Real Time) sequencing platform. While I’d heard of the “next-next-generation” of sequencing technologies at least 18 months ago, this was the first time I’d paid much attention to them. What sets the “next-next-gen” from the “next-gen” platforms (why won’t this terminology die already!) is that rather than sequencing a cluster (Illumina) or a bead (SOLiD) of amplified and identical molecules we sequence a single molecule.