Recent advances in DNA sequencing have revolutionized the field of genomics, making it possible for even single research groups to generate large amounts of sequence data very rapidly and at a substantially lower cost. These high-throughput sequencing technologies make deep transcriptome sequencing and transcript quantification, whole genome sequencing and resequencing available to many more researchers and projects. However, while the cost and time have been greatly reduced, the error profiles and limitations of the new platforms differ significantly from those of previous sequencing technologies. The selection of an appropriate sequencing platform for particular types of experiments is an important consideration, and requires a detailed understanding of the technologies available; including sources of error, error rate, as well as the speed and cost of sequencing. We review the relevant concepts and compare the issues raised by the current high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies. We analyze how future developments may overcome these limitations and what challenges remain.