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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tracking the Tuna: How PacBio Sequencing Could Help Save the “King of the Sea”

Northern Bluefin Tuna Their bodies are big, bony and… warm? Unique among bony fish, Atlantic, Pacific and Southern bluefin tuna have a rare endothermic physiology that has garnered great interest among scientists. Like birds, mammals and some sharks, these kings of the sea are capable of conserving internally generated metabolic heat produced from their swimming muscles and viscera, and maintaining tissue temperatures above that of the environment. The fish are also renowned among sushi enthusiasts for their delectable, fat-laden muscle, and prized by fisherman because of the high prices they command. So the preservation of these species is paramount to…

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

At ASHG 2018, Workshop Speakers Discuss SMRT Sequencing Applications for Human Disease

Last month’s annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in San Diego was a terrific reminder of how much progress is being made in this field — both in our basic understanding of human biology and in our ability to rapidly translate discoveries into clinical utility. ASHG 2018 attendees packed into the PacBio workshop. The PacBio team had the privilege of hosting an educational workshop about the value of long-read SMRT Sequencing for human genetic applications. Customers from Mount Sinai and Stanford University offered their perspectives, while PacBio scientists presented data and the technology roadmap. Here, we recap…

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

An Interview with Leslie Vosshall: Buzzing About the New Mosquito Reference Genome

Photo courtesy of Ben Matthews The new reference genome for Aedes aegypti, just published in Nature, famously got its start through a crowdsourced effort on social media, beginning with a tweet from Rockefeller University scientist Leslie Vosshall pleading for a better mosquito resource. The insect expert has been studying mosquitoes since 2008 but for most of that time did not have access to a high-quality, highly contiguous assembly. We chatted with her to learn more about mosquitoes, what’s possible with the new reference genome, and how this new assembly has changed the landscape for understanding mosquito biology and its implications…

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

North American User Group Meeting: Highlights in Human, Animal, Insect, and Microbes

Jeremy Schmutz and Emily Hatas enjoy the evening at the award-winning City Museum. Many thanks to all the PacBio users who attended our annual user group meeting, hosted in St. Louis for the first time. It was great to see so many people sharing best practices and project ideas. If you couldn’t attend, this recap will give you a sense of the highlights from the two day meeting on Wash U’s campus and exciting networking event at the City Museum. You can also download several of the presentations and view video recordings. Tina Graves-Lindsay from the McDonnell Genome Institute and…

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fishing for Human-Specific Isoforms

When scientists want to investigate human-specific evolution, the best place to start is often with a comparison to our closest cousins, the great apes. Some recent high-quality PacBio genome assemblies have provided solid new foundations for these projects, but gene annotation has proven challenging, particularly for segmental duplications — sets of gene families duplicated in the human lineage relative to our last common ancestor with the chimpanzee. Could these photocopied gene families be involved in human-specific traits like the development of a larger frontal cortex? Until now, technical limitations have stood in the way of answering that question. Two common…

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Monday, November 5, 2018

SMRT Grant Winner: Preventing Infection for Premmies

Mark Webber We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Microbial Genomics SMRT Grant. Mark Webber, Research Leader at Quadram Institute Bioscience in the UK, will get free SMRT Sequencing and analysis from our certified service provider, the Genomics Resource Center at the University of Maryland.  His goal is to further a project designed to understand how bacteria on the skin of premature babies in neonatal intensive care units acquire resistance to the antiseptics used to prevent infections. We spoke with Mark to learn more about his work and how the SMRT Grant will make a difference.   Q:…

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Genetic Code of All Plants, Animals, Protozoa, and Fungi to be Sequenced with Help of PacBio

It’s one of the most ambitious sequencing projects ever attempted — the assembly of all 1.5 million known species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi on Earth — and SMRT Sequencing will play a major part. The global Earth BioGenome Project and its UK arm, the Darwin Tree of Life Project, were launched in London today in a gathering of the key scientific partners and funders from around the globe. A greater understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and the responsible stewarding of its resources are among the most crucial scientific and social challenges of the new millennium, and overcoming these challenges…

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