A camera snaps a picture of the entire plate, capturing the identity of a single base in a billion nanoballs. The density of the DNA on the slide allows many pieces of DNA to be sequenced simultaneously, increasing speed and cutting reagent costs.

To complete the sequencing process, the first set of markers is washed away and the next set flooded in. The process is repeated using markers that bind to each of the four sets of anchors, generating enough information to assemble an approximately 80-base-pair sequence of DNA. Millions of these overlapping pieces are then computationally stitched together to generate the entire sequence.