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September 6, 2018

Amplification-free, CRISPR-Cas9 targeted enrichment and SMRT Sequencing of repeat-expansion disease causative genomic regions

Targeted sequencing has proven to be economical for obtaining sequence information for defined regions of the genome. However, most target enrichment methods are reliant upon some form of amplification which can negatively impact downstream analysis. For example, amplification removes epigenetic marks present in native DNA, including nucleotide methylation, which are hypothesized to contribute to disease mechanisms in some disorders. In addition, some genomic regions known to be causative of many genetic disorders have extreme GC content and/or repetitive sequences that tend to be recalcitrant to faithful amplification. We have developed a novel, amplification-free enrichment technique that employs the CRISPR/Cas9 system…

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February 12, 2018

Multiplexed complete microbial genomes on the Sequel System

Microbes play an important role in nearly every part of our world, as they affect human health, our environment, agriculture, and aid in waste management. Complete closed genome sequences, which have become the gold standard with PacBio long-read sequencing, can be key to understanding microbial functional characteristics. However, input requirements, consumables costs, and the labor required to prepare and sequence a microbial genome have in the past put PacBio sequencing out of reach for some larger projects. We have developed a multiplexed library prep approach that is simple, fast, and cost-effective, and can produce 4 to 16 closed bacterial genomes…

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February 12, 2018

Full-length transcript profiling with the Iso-Seq method for improved genome annotations

Incomplete annotation of genomes represents a major impediment to understanding biological processes, functional differences between species, and evolutionary mechanisms. Often, genes that are large, embedded within duplicated genomic regions, or associated with repeats are difficult to study by short-read expression profiling and assembly. In addition, most genes in eukaryotic organisms produce alternatively spliced isoforms, broadening the diversity of proteins encoded by the genome, which are difficult to resolve with short-read methods. Short-read RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) works by physically shearing transcript isoforms into smaller pieces and bioinformatically reassembling them, leaving opportunity for misassembly or incomplete capture of the full diversity of…

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February 12, 2018

High-quality de novo genome assembly and intra-individual mitochondrial instability in the critically endangered kakapo

The kakapo (Strigops habroptila) is a large, flightless parrot endemic to New Zealand. It is highly endangered with only ~150 individuals remaining, and intensive conservation efforts are underway to save this iconic species from extinction. These include genetic studies to understand critical genes relevant to fertility, adaptation and disease resistance, and genetic diversity across the remaining population for future breeding program decisions. To aid with these efforts, we have generated a high-quality de novo genome assembly using PacBio long-read sequencing. Using the new diploid-aware FALCON-Unzip assembler, the resulting genome of 1.06 Gb has a contig N50 of 5.6 Mb (largest…

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February 12, 2018

Mitochondrial DNA sequencing using PacBio SMRT technology

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a compact, double-stranded circular genome of 16,569 bp with a cytosine-rich light (L) chain and a guanine-rich heavy (H) chain. mtDNA mutations have been increasingly recognized as important contributors to an array of human diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, colorectal cancer and Kearns–Sayre syndrome. mtDNA mutations can affect all of the 1000-10,000 copies of the mitochondrial genome present in a cell (homoplasmic mutation) or only a subset of copies (heteroplasmic mutation). The ratio of normal to mutant mtDNAs within cells is a significant factor in whether mutations will result in disease, as well as…

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February 12, 2018

SMRT-Cappable-seq reveals the complex operome of bacteria

SMRT-Cappable-seq combines the isolation of full-length prokaryotic primary transcripts with long read sequencing technology. It is the first experimental methodology to sequence entire prokaryotic transcripts. It identifies the transcription start site and termination site, thereby directly defines the operon structures genome-wide in prokaryotes. Applied to E.coli, SMRT-Cappable-seq identifies a total of ~2300 operons, among which ~900 are novel. Importantly, our result reveals a pervasive read-through of previous experimentally validated transcription termination sites. Termination read-through represents a powerful strategy to control gene expression. Taken together this data provides a first glance at the complexity of the ‘operome’ in bacteria and presents…

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February 12, 2018

Amplification-free targeted enrichment and SMRT Sequencing of repeat-expansion genomic regions

Targeted sequencing has proven to be an economical means of obtaining sequence information for one or more defined regions of a larger genome. However, most target enrichment methods are reliant upon some form of amplification. Amplification removes the epigenetic marks present in native DNA, and some genomic regions, such as those with extreme GC content and repetitive sequences, are recalcitrant to faithful amplification. Yet, a large number of genetic disorders are caused by expansions of repeat sequences. Furthermore, for some disorders, methylation status has been shown to be a key factor in the mechanism of disease.

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February 15, 2017

AGBT PacBio Workshop: SMRT Sequencing roadmap: better throughput, lower costs

In this AGBT 2017 talk, PacBio CSO Jonas Korlach provided a technology roadmap for the Sequel System, including plans the continue performance and throughput increases through early 2019. Per SMRT Cell throughput of the Sequel System is expected to double this year and again next year. Together with a new higher-capacity SMRT Cell expected to be released by the end of 2018, these improvements result in a ~30-fold increase or ~150 Gb / SMRT Cell allowing a real $1000 real de novo human genome assembly. Also discussed: Additional application protocol improvements, new chemistry and software updates, and a look at…

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February 15, 2017

AGBT Conference: A community effort using multiple technologies to produce a dramatically improved genome assembly of the Zika virus mosquito vector

At AGBT 2017, the Broad Institute’s Daniel Neafsey reported a large collaborative effort to sequence the mosquito that carries Zika virus. The team is using long-read PacBio sequencing to produce a high-quality genome assembly, which Neafsey expects will replace the 10-year-old Sanger assembly for Aedes aegypti. The new assembly reduces the number of contigs by at least 10-fold, boosts the contig N50 to nearly 2 Mb, and features more complete gene content.

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February 15, 2017

AGBT PacBio Workshop: De novo sequencing of the naked mole rat genome

At AGBT 2017, Margaret Roy from Calico Life Sciences discussed a de novo genome sequencing effort for the naked mole rat. This animal has a remarkably long life span and resistance to cancer, both of which make it interesting for studies of life extension. The team is using SMRT Sequencing for a more complete, contiguous assembly than the two existing short-read-based assemblies. Included: data from the Sequel System.

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February 15, 2017

AGBT PacBio Workshop: High-throughput HLA class I whole gene and HLA class II long range typing on PacBio RSII and Sequel Platforms

In a talk at AGBT 2017, Histogenetics CEO Nezih Cereb reported on how SMRT Sequencing is allowing his team to produce full-length, phased sequences for HLA alleles, which are important for matching organ transplants to recipients. The company is typing thousands of samples per day on their PacBio RS II systems and their new Sequel System. Cereb noted that SMRT Sequencing is unique in its ability to reliably phase mutations in the HLA alleles without imputation. Cereb concluded with his plans to use this approach for other complex regions, such as KIR, and announced their continued increasing HLA typing capacity…

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February 14, 2017

Structural variant detection with low-coverage Pacbio sequencing

Despite amazing progress over the past quarter century in the technology to detect genetic variants, intermediate-sized structural variants (50 bp to 50 kb) have remained difficult to identify. Such variants are too small to detect with array comparative genomic hybridization, but too large to reliably discover with short-read DNA sequencing. Recent de novo assemblies of human genomes have demonstrated the power of PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing to fill this technology gap and sensitively identify structural variants in the human genome. While de novo assembly is the ideal method to identify variants in a genome, it requires high depth…

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February 14, 2017

T-cell receptor profiling using PacBio sequencing of SMARTer libraries

T-cells play a central part in the immune response in humans and related species. T-cell receptors (TCRs), heterodimers located on the T-cell surface, specifically bind foreign antigens displayed on the MHC complex of antigen-presenting cells. The wide spectrum of potential antigens is addressed by the diversity of TCRs created by V(D)J recombination. Profiling this repertoire of TCRs could be useful from, but not limited to, diagnosis, monitoring response to treatments, and examining T-cell development and diversification.

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February 14, 2017

A method for the identification of variants in Alzheimer’s disease candidate genes and transcripts using hybridization capture combined with long-read sequencing

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that is genetically complex. Although great progress has been made in identifying fully penetrant mutations in genes such as APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 that cause early-onset AD, these still represent a very small percentage of AD cases. Large-scale, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified at least 20 additional genetic risk loci for the more common form of late-onset AD. However, the identified SNPs are typically not the actual causal variants, but are in linkage disequilibrium with the presumed causative variant (Van Cauwenberghe C, et al., The genetic landscape of Alzheimer disease: clinical…

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