AAT Bioquest

What is whole genome sequencing (WGS) used for?

Posted February 16, 2022


Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is a comprehensive method for analyzing entire genomes in a single experiment. The high resolution, base-by-base view of the entire genome allows researchers to determine the complete DNA sequence including the coding and noncoding regions of an organism. WGS has a wide range of applications including but not limited to:

  • Identifying inherited disorders in newborns
  • Tracking disease outbreaks
  • Tailoring disease treatments to an individual’s genetic makeup
  • Identifying how genetic variation influences transcription
  • Characterizing the mutations that drive cancer progression
  • Studying the whole genomes of rare types of cancers
  • Detecting variants contributing to disease in a family with segregating alleles
  • Performing large-scale, longitudinal studies of complex traits, which are crucial for identifying underlying genetics
Additional resources


From cytogenetics to cytogenomics: whole-genome sequencing as a first-line test comprehensively captures the diverse spectrum of disease-causing genetic variation underlying intellectual disability