June 1, 2021  |  

High-throughput SMRT Sequencing of clinically relevant targets

Targeted sequencing with Sanger as well as short read based high throughput sequencing methods is standard practice in clinical genetic testing. However, many applications beyond SNP detection have remained somewhat obstructed due to technological challenges. With the advent of long reads and high consensus accuracy, SMRT Sequencing overcomes many of the technical hurdles faced by Sanger and NGS approaches, opening a broad range of untapped clinical sequencing opportunities. Flexible multiplexing options, highly adaptable sample preparation method and newly improved two well-developed analysis methods that generate highly-accurate sequencing results, make SMRT Sequencing an adept method for clinical grade targeted sequencing. The Circular Consensus Sequencing (CCS) analysis pipeline produces QV 30 data from each single intra-molecular multi-pass polymerase read, making it a reliable solution for detecting minor variant alleles with frequencies as low as 1 %. Long Amplicon Analysis (LAA) makes use of insert spanning full-length subreads originating from multiple individual copies of the target to generate highly accurate and phased consensus sequences (>QV50), offering a unique advantage for imputation free allele segregation and haplotype phasing. Here we present workflows and results for a range of SMRT Sequencing clinical applications. Specifically, we illustrate how the flexible multiplexing options, simple sample preparation methods and new developments in data analysis tools offered by PacBio in support of Sequel System 5.1 can come together in a variety of experimental designs to enable applications as diverse as high throughput HLA typing, mitochondrial DNA sequencing and viral vector integrity profiling of recombinant adeno-associated viral genomes (rAAV).


June 1, 2021  |  

The value of long read amplicon sequencing for clinical applications

NGS is commonly used for amplicon sequencing in clinical applications to study genetic disorders and detect disease-causing mutations. This approach can be plagued by limited ability to phase sequence variants and makes interpretation of sequence data difficult when pseudogenes are present. Long-read highly accurate amplicon sequencing can provide very accurate, efficient, high throughput (through multiplexing) sequences from single molecules, with read lengths largely limited by PCR. Data is easy to interpret; phased variants and breakpoints are present within high fidelity individual reads. Here we show SMRT Sequencing of the PMS2 and OPN1 (MW and LW) genes using the Sequel System. Homologous regions make NGS and MLPA results very difficult to interpret.


April 21, 2020  |  

Variation in genome content and predatory phenotypes between Bdellovibrio sp. NC01 isolated from soil and B. bacteriovorus type strain HD100

The range of naturally occurring variation in the ability of Bdellovibrio strains to attack and kill Gram-negative bacteria is not well understood. Defining phenotypic and associated genotypic variation among Bdellovibrio may further our understanding of how this genus impacts microbial communities. In addition, comparisons of the predatory phenotypes of divergent strains may inform the development of Bdellovibrio as biocontrol agents to combat bacterial infections. We isolated Bdellovibrio sp. NC01 from soil and compared its genome and predatory phenotypes to B. bacteriovorus type strain HD100. Based on analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences and average amino acid identity, NC01 belongs to a different species than HD100. Genome-wide comparisons and individual gene analyses indicated that eight NC01 genome regions were likely acquired by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), further supporting an important role for HGT in Bdellovibrio genome evolution. Within these regions, multiple protein-coding sequences were assigned predicted functions related to transcriptional regulation and transport; however, most were annotated as hypothetical proteins. Compared to HD100, NC01 has a limited prey range and kills E. coli ML35 less efficiently. Whereas HD100 drastically reduces the ML35 population and then maintains low prey population density, NC01 causes a smaller reduction in ML35, after which the prey population recovers, accompanied by a decrease in NC01. In addition, NC01 forms turbid plaques on lawns of E. coli ML35, in contrast to clear plaques formed by HD100. Characterizing variation in interactions between Bdellovibrio and Gram-negative bacteria, such as observed with NC01 and HD100, is valuable for understanding the ecological significance of predatory bacteria and evaluating their effectiveness in clinical applications.


April 21, 2020  |  

Critical length in long-read resequencing

Long-read sequencing has substantial advantages for structural variant discovery and phasing of vari- ants compared to short-read technologies, but the required and optimal read length has not been as- sessed. In this work, we used long reads simulated from human genomes and evaluated structural vari- ant discovery and variant phasing using current best practicebioinformaticsmethods.Wedeterminedthatoptimal discovery of structural variants from human genomes can be obtained with reads of minimally 20 kb. Haplotyping variants across genes only reaches its optimum from reads of 100 kb. These findings are important for the design of future long-read sequenc- ing projects.


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 are being applied to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses, constitutional disorders, pharmacogenomics, cancer, and more.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

An open resource for accurately benchmarking small variant and reference calls.

Benchmark small variant calls are required for developing, optimizing and assessing the performance of sequencing and bioinformatics methods. Here, as part of the Genome in a Bottle (GIAB) Consortium, we apply a reproducible, cloud-based pipeline to integrate multiple short- and linked-read sequencing datasets and provide benchmark calls for human genomes. We generate benchmark calls for one previously analyzed GIAB sample, as well as six genomes from the Personal Genome Project. These new genomes have broad, open consent, making this a ‘first of its kind’ resource that is available to the community for multiple downstream applications. We produce 17% more benchmark single nucleotide variations, 176% more indels and 12% larger benchmark regions than previously published GIAB benchmarks. We demonstrate that this benchmark reliably identifies errors in existing callsets and highlight challenges in interpreting performance metrics when using benchmarks that are not perfect or comprehensive. Finally, we identify strengths and weaknesses of callsets by stratifying performance according to variant type and genome context.


April 21, 2020  |  

A systematic review of the Trypanosoma cruzi genetic heterogeneity, host immune response and genetic factors as plausible drivers of chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy.

Chagas disease is a complex tropical pathology caused by the kinetoplastid Trypanosoma cruzi. This parasite displays massive genetic diversity and has been classified by international consensus in at least six Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) that are broadly distributed in the American continent. The main clinical manifestation of the disease is the chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCC) that is lethal in the infected individuals. However, one intriguing feature is that only 30-40% of the infected individuals will develop CCC. Some authors have suggested that the immune response, host genetic factors, virulence factors and even the massive genetic heterogeneity of T. cruzi are responsible of this clinical pattern. To date, no conclusive data support the reason why a few percentages of the infected individuals will develop CCC. Therefore, we decided to conduct a systematic review analysing the host genetic factors, immune response, cytokine production, virulence factors and the plausible association of the parasite DTUs and CCC. The epidemiological and clinical implications are herein discussed.


April 21, 2020  |  

Construction of full-length Japanese reference panel of class I HLA genes with single-molecule, real-time sequencing.

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) is a gene complex known for its exceptional diversity across populations, importance in organ and blood stem cell transplantation, and associations of specific alleles with various diseases. We constructed a Japanese reference panel of class I HLA genes (ToMMo HLA panel), comprising a distinct set of HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, and HLA-H alleles, by single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing of 208 individuals included in the 1070 whole-genome Japanese reference panel (1KJPN). For high-quality allele reconstruction, we developed a novel pipeline, Primer-Separation Assembly and Refinement Pipeline (PSARP), in which the SMRT sequencing and additional short-read data were used. The panel consisted of 139 alleles, which were all extended from known IPD-IMGT/HLA sequences, contained 40 with novel variants, and captured more than 96.5% of allelic diversity in 1KJPN. These newly available sequences would be important resources for research and clinical applications including high-resolution HLA typing, genetic association studies, and analyzes of cis-regulatory elements.


April 21, 2020  |  

Copy-number variants in clinical genome sequencing: deployment and interpretation for rare and undiagnosed disease.

Current diagnostic testing for genetic disorders involves serial use of specialized assays spanning multiple technologies. In principle, genome sequencing (GS) can detect all genomic pathogenic variant types on a single platform. Here we evaluate copy-number variant (CNV) calling as part of a clinically accredited GS test.We performed analytical validation of CNV calling on 17 reference samples, compared the sensitivity of GS-based variants with those from a clinical microarray, and set a bound on precision using orthogonal technologies. We developed a protocol for family-based analysis of GS-based CNV calls, and deployed this across a clinical cohort of 79 rare and undiagnosed cases.We found that CNV calls from GS are at least as sensitive as those from microarrays, while only creating a modest increase in the number of variants interpreted (~10 CNVs per case). We identified clinically significant CNVs in 15% of the first 79 cases analyzed, all of which were confirmed by an orthogonal approach. The pipeline also enabled discovery of a uniparental disomy (UPD) and a 50% mosaic trisomy 14. Directed analysis of select CNVs enabled breakpoint level resolution of genomic rearrangements and phasing of de novo CNVs.Robust identification of CNVs by GS is possible within a clinical testing environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing and beyond

The development of clustered regularly interspaced short-palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas systems for genome editing has transformed the way life science research is conducted and holds enormous potential for the treatment of disease as well as for many aspects of biotech- nology. Here, I provide a personal perspective on the development of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing within the broader context of the field and discuss our work to discover novel Cas effectors and develop them into additional molecular tools. The initial demonstra- tion of Cas9-mediated genome editing launched the development of many other technologies, enabled new lines of biological inquiry, and motivated a deeper examination of natural CRISPR-Cas systems, including the discovery of new types of CRISPR-Cas systems. These new discoveries in turn spurred further technological developments. I review these exciting discoveries and technologies as well as provide an overview of the broad array of applications of these technologies in basic research and in the improvement of human health. It is clear that we are only just beginning to unravel the potential within microbial diversity, and it is quite likely that we will continue to discover other exciting phenomena, some of which it may be possible to repurpose as molecular technologies. The transformation of mysterious natural phenomena to powerful tools, however, takes a collective effort to discover, characterize, and engineer them, and it has been a privilege to join the numerous researchers who have contributed to this transformation of CRISPR-Cas systems.


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