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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Case Study: SMRT Sequencing provides a first look at repeat expansion disorder sequence

Scientists at UC Davis School of Medicine have used the PacBio RS to sequence a previously “unsequenceable” region of highly repetitive DNA on the X chromosome. Their research has provided a critical leap forward in understanding the genetic complexity of repeat expansion disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome. The new method provides a path towards the first accurate means of population screening for Fragile X Syndrome, which is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common known genetic cause of autism.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Single-Molecule Sequencing: Towards Clinical Applications.

In the past several years, single-molecule sequencing platforms, such as those by Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, have become available to researchers and are currently being tested for clinical applications. They offer exceptionally long reads that permit direct sequencing through regions of the genome inaccessible or difficult to analyze by short-read platforms. This includes disease-causing long repetitive elements, extreme GC content regions, and complex gene loci. Similarly, these platforms enable structural variation characterization at previously unparalleled resolution and direct detection of epigenetic marks in native DNA. Here, we review how these technologies are opening up new clinical avenues that…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Long-Read Sequencing Emerging in Medical Genetics

The wide implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has revolutionized the field of medical genetics. However, the short read lengths of currently used sequencing approaches pose a limitation for identification of structural variants, sequencing repetitive regions, phasing alleles and distinguishing highly homologous genomic regions. These limitations may significantly contribute to the diagnostic gap in patients with genetic disorders who have undergone standard NGS, like whole exome or even genome sequencing. Now, the emerging long-read sequencing (LRS) technologies may offer improvements in the characterization of genetic variation and regions that are difficult to assess with the currently prevailing NGS approaches. LRS…

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Webinar: Sequencing 101 – How long-read sequencing improves access to genetic information

In this webinar, Kristin Mars, Sequencing Specialist, PacBio, presents an introduction to PacBio’s technology and its applications followed by a panel discussion among sequencing experts. The panel discussion addresses such things as what long reads are and how are they useful, what differentiates PacBio long-read sequencing from other technologies, and the applications PacBio offers and how they can benefit scientific research.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ASHG Virtual Poster: Alternative splicing in FMR1 premutations carriers

In this ASHG 2016 virtual poster, Flora Tassone from UC Davis describes her study of the molecular mechanisms linked to fragile X syndrome and associated disorders, such as FXTAS. She is using SMRT Sequencing to resolve the FMR1 gene in premutation carriers because it’s the only technology that can generate full-length transcripts with the causative CGG repeat expansion. Plus: direct confirmation of predicted isoform configurations.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ASHG Virtual Poster: Enrichment of unamplified DNA and long-read SMRT Sequencing to unlock repeat expansion disorders

PacBio’s Jenny Ekholm presents this ASHG 2016 poster on a new method being developed that enriches for unamplified DNA and uses SMRT Sequencing to characterize repeat expansion disorders. Incorporating the CRISPR/Cas9 system to target specific genes allows for amplification-free enrichment to preserve epigenetic information and avoid PCR bias. Internal studies have shown that the approach can successfully be used to target and sequence the CAG repeat responsible for Huntington’s disease, the repeat associated with ALS, and more. The approach allows for pooling many samples and sequencing with a single SMRT Cell.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Webinar: Addressing “NGS Dead Zones” with third generation PacBio sequencing

SMRT Sequencing is a DNA sequencing technology characterized by long read lengths and high consensus accuracy, regardless of the sequence complexity or GC content of the DNA sample. These characteristics can be harnessed to address medically relevant genes, mRNA transcripts, and other genomic features that are otherwise difficult or impossible to resolve. I will describe examples for such new clinical research in diverse areas, including full-length gene sequencing with allelic haplotype phasing, gene/pseudogene discrimination, sequencing extreme DNA contexts, high-resolution pharmacogenomics, biomarker discovery, structural variant resolution, full-length mRNA isoform cataloging, and direct methylation detection.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sequencing of expanded CGG repeats in the FMR1 gene.

Alleles of the FMR1 gene with more than 200 CGG repeats generally undergo methylation-coupled gene silencing, resulting in fragile X syndrome, the leading heritable form of cognitive impairment. Smaller expansions (55-200 CGG repeats) result in elevated levels of FMR1 mRNA, which is directly responsible for the late-onset neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). For mechanistic studies and genetic counseling, it is important to know with precision the number of CGG repeats; however, no existing DNA sequencing method is capable of sequencing through more than ~100 CGG repeats, thus limiting the ability to precisely characterize the disease-causing alleles. The recent…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Enrichment of unamplified DNA and long-read SMRT Sequencing in unlocking the underlying biological disease mechanisms of repeat expansion disorders

For many of the repeat expansion disorders, the disease gene has been discovered, however the underlying biological mechanisms have not yet been fully understood. This is mainly due to technological limitations that do not allow for the needed base-pair resolution of the long, repetitive genomic regions. We have developed a novel, amplification-free enrichment technique that uses the CRISPR/Cas9 system to target large repeat expansions. This method, in conjunction with PacBio’s long reads and uniform coverage, enables sequencing of these complex genomic regions. By using a PCR-free amplification method, we are able to access not only the repetitive elements and interruption…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Enrichment of unamplified DNA and long-read SMRT Sequencing to unlock repeat expansion disorders

Nucleotide repeat expansions are a major cause of neurological and neuromuscular disease in humans, however, the nature of these genomic regions makes characterizing them extremely challenging. Accurate DNA sequencing of repeat expansions using short-read sequencing technologies is difficult, as short-read technologies often cannot read through regions of low sequence complexity. Additionally, these short reads do not span the entire region of interest and therefore sequence assembly is required. Lastly, most target enrichment methods are reliant upon amplification which adds the additional caveat of PCR bias. We have developed a novel, amplification-free enrichment technique that employs the CRISPR/Cas9 system for specific…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Alternative splicing in FMR1 premutations carriers

Over 40% of males and ~16% of female carriers of a FMR1 premutation allele (55-200 CGG repeats) are at risk for developing Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS), an adult onset neurodegenerative disorder while, about 20% of female carriers will develop Fragile X-associated Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (FXPOI), in addition to a number of adult-onset clinical problems (FMR1 associated disorders). Marked elevation in FMR1 mRNA levels have been observed with premutation alleles and the resulting RNA toxicity is believed to be the leading molecular mechanism proposed for these disorders. The FMR1 gene, as many housekeeping genes, undergoes alternative splicing. Using long-read isoform…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Targeted SMRT Sequencing of difficult regions of the genome using a Cas9, non-amplification based method

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. We have developed a…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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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