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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AGBT Day 4 Highlights: SMRT Sequencing for De Novo Genome Assemblies

Even as attendees’ energy was waning from three marathon days at AGBT, spirits were still high as we gathered for the final day’s Genomic Technologies session on Saturday morning. This session included two speakers presenting on applications using SMRT Sequencing: Eric Antoniou from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Jonas Korlach, our CSO. Antoniou, a research investigator and manager of the genome sequencing center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, presented on “Increased Read Length and Sequence Quality with Pacific Biosciences Magbead Loading System and a New DNA Polymerase.” In it, he reported on the sequencing and assembly of the 470-Mb rice…

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

AGBT Day 3 Highlights: Long-Read Sequence Data Makes a Difference for Human, Crop Studies

The third day of sessions has wrapped up at AGBT, and we’ve got one day left to go. It’s the last leg of the marathon! We’ve been having a great time here, enjoying the opportunity to meet with old friends and make new acquaintances as well. Today’s talks included two of particular interest to us: one from Eric Schadt and another from Mike Schatz. Eric Schadt, founder and director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, gave a talk during the afternoon session entitled “Whole Human Genome SMRT® Sequencing…

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Friday, February 22, 2013

AGBT Day 2 Highlight: Bovine Immune Response Characterized with PacBio Sequencing

We survived the second day of AGBT, and the conference is officially in full swing. After an intense day of sessions focused on clinical genomics, the evening took us back to the technology talks that have long been the foundation of this meeting. One of the speakers last night was Tim Smith, a molecular geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, who gave a presentation entitled “Deep Sequencing of Immune Repertoires During Bovine Development and in Response to Respiratory Pathogen Challenge.” In it, he spoke about using circular consensus sequencing on the PacBio RS to characterize the immune repertoire in…

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

AGBT Day 1 Highlights: Focus on Epigenetics

Years ago, “epigenetics” was largely synonymous with methylation — in particular, 5-methylcytosine, which could be analyzed through bisulfite sequencing. Today, technologies have advanced and so has our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying epigenetics. Scientists are continually adding to the repertoire of methylation patterns and how they function, from virulence effects in microbes to DNA replication and new methylation marks in plants. Here at AGBT, the conference kicked off with some excellent talks focusing on epigenetics. In one, Leonid Moroz, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Florida, talked about the challenges of determining the biological function behind memory…

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

AGBT 2013: Meeting Preview & PacBio Activities

This week we are fortunate to be attending the annual Advances in Genome Biology & Technology (AGBT) meeting in Marco Island, FL.  The conference is always jam-packed with top tier scientific presentations all day and well into the evening. There are several great presentations and posters we’re looking forward to, including some from our customers and scientific staff. In our workshop session (Fri., Feb. 22, 3:20 PM), Eric Schadt from the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will give a talk about new research using SMRT Sequencing for human genome analysis. If you…

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mendelspod Interview with Mike Hunkapiller, CEO of Pacific Biosciences

Mike Hunkapiller was interviewed for a podcast recently on Mendelspod. In it, Mike and Mendelspod host Theral Timpson chat about the current sequencing technology landscape, clinical applications of sequencing, and Mike’s goals as the head of PacBio.     Here are a few highlights from the interview: On the need for de novo sequencing of microbes rather than relying on reference assemblies: “[Their] genomes are evolving so fast because they can pick up genes from other organisms really easily — you almost by definition don’t have good references.” On SMRT® Sequencing accuracy: “We have the highest accuracy in the field, but…

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Monday, February 11, 2013

SMRT Sequencing Offers First Look at Fragile X Syndrome Repeat Expansion Disorder Sequence

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine have used the PacBio® RS to sequence a previously “unsequenceable” region of highly repetitive DNA on the X chromosome, providing a critical leap forward in understanding the genetic complexity of repeat expansion disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome. Paul Hagerman, a professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the University of California, Davis, has spent the better part of the last 30 years trying to parse the molecular biology of Fragile X Syndrome. The FMR1 genetic mutation responsible for the syndrome is a leading cause of heritable cognitive impairment and…

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

PAG Highlights and Workshop Recording: Generating High-Quality Bacterial, Plant and Animal Genomes

It was great to visit sunny San Diego for the International Plant and Animal Genome meeting last month. We were impressed with the quality of talks and posters, and we appreciated all the scientists who stopped by our booth or attended our workshop. One highlight for us was listening to Kim Worley from Baylor’s Human Genome Sequencing Center as she described a sooty mangabey primate genome project. Sooty mangabey is a model organism for HIV research, since this particular primate can be infected with the immunodeficiency virus and never develop any symptoms. Because this resistance likely comes from a complex…

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