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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

AGBT 2017, Day 1: Infectious Disease and Improved Genome Assemblies

We’re thrilled to be at the AGBT conference this week, taking place this year in Hollywood, Fla. On the first full day of the meeting, everyone’s mandatory wristbands look shiny and new (we suspect by the end of the week they’ll be as wilted as us). And we've even been getting that work/life balance down thanks to some beach volleyball with our friends from BioNano Genomics and Swift Biosciences. At the opening session on Monday, Eimear Kenny from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai showed why it’s essential to fully understand natural genetic diversity in a fascinating talk…

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Data Release: Alzheimer Brain Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq) Dataset

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects ~44 million people worldwide, making it the most common form of dementia. Pathologically it is defined by severe neuronal loss, aggregation of amyloid β (Aβ) in extracellular senile plaques in the brain, and formation of intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles consisting of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Studies looking into disease mechanism have shown that changes in gene expression due to alternative splicing likely contribute to the initiation and progression of AD. Hence, efforts have been made to better understand the gene expression changes in the AD brain by sequencing the transcriptome of affected…

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Monday, July 11, 2016

First Comprehensive View of Alternative Splicing in Sorghum Powered by SMRT Sequencing

A paper from scientists at Colorado State University and the National Center for Genome Resources provides an in-depth view of the transcriptome of sorghum, a crop that’s important for human and animal food and also shows potential as a biofuel. Through this project, the team produced a new isoform analysis pipeline for community use and identified novel genes, as well as far more alternative splicing than had been expected for this plant. The publication, “A survey of the sorghum transcriptome using single-molecule long reads,” comes from lead author Salah Abdel-Ghany, senior author Anireddy Reddy, and collaborators. The researchers were particularly…

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

In Chinese Genome Assembly, SMRT Sequencing Finds Novel Genes and Recovers Missing Sequence

A paper just out in Nature Communications reports the de novo genome assembly and transcriptome of a Chinese individual, generated from long-read SMRT Sequencing and other technologies. The effort revealed nearly 13 Mb of sequence not included in the GRCh38 reference genome as well as novel gene and alternative splicing content not annotated in GENCODE. “Long-read sequencing and de novo assembly of a Chinese genome” comes from lead author Lingling Shi at Jinan University and senior author Kai Wang from the University of Southern California, as well as many other collaborators in China and the US. The team was particularly interested in…

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Iso-Seq Study Reveals More Complexity than Expected in Maize Transcriptome

In a new publication from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, scientists produced a dataset for what authors call “the single largest collection of [full-length] cDNAs available in maize” and significantly improved genome annotation. The effort relied on the Iso-Seq method with SMRT Sequencing, which allows scientists to generate ultra-long reads covering full transcripts. The paper, “Unveiling the complexity of the maize transcriptome by single-molecule long-read sequencing,” comes from lead author Bo Wang and senior author Doreen Ware, who is also affiliated with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. It offers the first published results from using the Iso-Seq method on a maize…

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Scientists Use the Iso-Seq Method to Study Genes Linked to Prostate Cancer

A team of scientists from Australia, Canada, and the US published fascinating new work that may help explain gene expression patterns seen in prostate cancer. In the course of the project, they used SMRT Sequencing and found a novel fusion transcript linking two genes with high sequence identity. “Identification of a novel fusion transcript between human relaxin-1 (RLN1) and human relaxin-2 (RLN2) in prostate cancer” was published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology by lead author Gregor Tevz, senior author Colleen Nelson, and a number of collaborators. In it, the scientists attempted to untangle expression signals from two relaxin genes, which…

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ASHG 2015: Highlights from Icahn Institute, UW, Stanford & CSHL Presentations

During the Wednesday afternoon sessions of last week's ASHG conference, several speakers provided helpful insights about their use of SMRT Sequencing for a range of applications. Highlights included the following: Yao Yang, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discussed the development of an assay to genotype the CYP2D6 gene to inform drug dosing in patients. CYP2D6 metabolizes 20-25% of all medications, including antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and opiates. There are more than 100 known variants, which include gene deletions and duplications. Variants can have profound impacts on how patients metabolize drugs, with some individuals being ultra-rapid metabolizers…

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