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Since its introduction a decade ago, whole-genome shotgun sequencing (WGS) has been the main approach for producing cost-effective and high-quality genome sequence data. Until now, the Sanger sequencing technology that has served as a platform for WGS has not been truly challenged by emerging technologies. The recent introduction of the pyrosequencing-based 454 sequencing platform (454 Life Sciences, Branford, CT) offers a very promising sequencing technology alternative for incorporation in WGS. In this study, we evaluated the utility and cost-effectiveness of a hybrid sequencing approach using 3730xl Sanger data and 454 data to generate higher-quality lower-cost assemblies of microbial genomes compared to current Sanger sequencing strategies alone.