Genomic Sequencing

The past two decades have witnessed extraordinary technological and computational advances in nucleic acid sequencing. This Milestone timeline provides a perspective of major genomic sequencing-related developments in the 21st century — from the first human reference genome, through methodological breakthroughs, to the impact of sequencing on fields as diverse as microbiology, cancer and palaeogenetics.

This Milestone is editorially independent, produced with financial support from a third party. About this content.

Nature Portfolio is pleased to acknowledge financial support of  Illumina, in producing this Nature Milestone. The sponsor retains sole responsibility for the following message.


For more than 20 years, Illumina has aspired to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our initial products enabled researchers to explore DNA in an entirely new way. Now, with more than 3,400 patents worldwide and our sequencing-by-synthesis technology being used to generate over 90% of the world’s sequencing data, we are leading the way, one genomic breakthrough at a time. While the rate of progress continues to accelerate exponentially as we move forward towards precision medicine, we have only just begun to discover the true impact of genomics and whole-genome sequencing in areas we touch, including oncology, reproductive health, genetic disease, agriculture, microbiology, and beyond. This realization, and the discoveries we know lie ahead, are what inspire us to push the boundaries of our imagination, drive innovation, and offer solutions across the genomic spectrum.  Illumina is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of this seminal retrospective Nature Milestones in Genomic Sequencing, released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first draft human genome.

Read sponsor feature