Gigsaw: physical simulation of next-generation sequencing for education and outreach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern sequencing methodologies produce more data in one run than a human being can read in a lifetime. Understanding how such vast quantities of information can be marshalled, assembled and interpreted is a challenging task for students and experienced researchers; it is even more challenging to have to explain this to lay audiences. Abstract representations, such as graphs or algorithms, or practical exercises with ‘black-box’ software, are limited in cultivating understanding. Gigsaw provides a physical model of next-generation sequencing data that can be readily manipulated, and different algorithms/experiments investigated at the bench top level. It is flexible in application and inexpensive to produce for public-understanding-of-science exercises or undergraduate/postgraduate training.

Availability: a Web server implementation of the Gigsaw software is freely available at and provides the Gigsaw output as PDF aligned for double-sided printing. Source code is available upon request under an open-source license.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalEMBnet Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • genomics
  • bioinformatics
  • sequencing
  • next-generation sequencing
  • training
  • education;
  • public understanding of science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Biology


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