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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: Going beyond the $1,000 genome with Mark Gerstein

Mark Gerstein is the co-director of the Yale Computational Biology and Bioinformatics program where he focuses on better annotation of the human genome and better ways to mine big genomics data. He has played a big role in some of the large genomics initiatives since the first human genome project, including ENCODE and the 1,000 Genomes Project. “I’m very enthusiastic, of course, about the thousand dollar genome, but I don’t think that a true human genome has arrived for a thousand dollars,” Mark says at the outset of this Mendelspod interview. “The great excitement of next generation sequencing—which is deserved—has…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: Marc Salit discusses creating the foundation of genomics

Marc Salit is the leader of the Genome Scale Measurement Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST. In this Mendelspod podcast, he explains how NIST played a pivotal, foundational role in enabling the ‘Century of Physics.’ Now Marc and NIST are looking for the right set of standards to enable the already-upon-us “Century of Biology.” The human reference genome is an example of a standard that Marc and his team are developing. Currently they are piloting what they call “Genome in a Bottle,” a physical reference standard to which all other human genomes can be measured.…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: The 9 billion people problem – Rod Wing on plant genomics

By 2050, there will be 9 billion people on the planet. What will they eat? This is the question that led Rod Wing, Director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, into the field of plant genomics. What has been accomplished so far in the mission to come up with some super green crops? And how does Rod see anti-GMO sentiment and the recent trend toward gluten free diets factoring in? After answering these questions, he dives into a discussion on which sequencing instruments he has used for plant work. Unsurprisingly, Rod prefers the PacBio long reads even though the cost is…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: The goal is de novo assembly in the clinic, says Jim Lupski, Baylor

Jim Lupski is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine where he’s on the frontline of incorporating genomic research into everyday clinical practice. The story begins with Jim’s own genome, which is perhaps the most sequenced genome ever. Jim’s life as a leading genomic researcher has been driven in part for a strong personal reason. He has a rare genetic disease named after three researchers who first defined it, Charcot Marie Tooth Neuropathy. What began as a personal journey to uncover the source of his own disease led Jim to seminal work that launched the field of structural variation. Working…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: Long-read sequencing dramatically improves blood matching – Steven Marsh

One of the popular questions on the Mendelspod program is how those doing sequencing decide between the quality of PacBio’s long reads and the cheaper short read technology, such as that of Illumina or Thermo Fisher. Steve Marsh, the Director of Bioinformatics at the Anthony Nolan Research Institute in London, provides the most clear and dramatic answer yet: use the PacBio system exclusively. Established in 1974 by the mother of a boy with a rare blood disease, the Anthony Nolan Institute is a world leader in blood crossmatching and donor/patient registries. Steve and his team at the Institute have dramatically…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Podcast: Huh? 30 million Americans have a rare disease? Howard Jacob on the state of clinical sequencing

Howard Jacob, Chief Genomics Officer at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, explored the role of genomics in diagnosing rare diseases. In this podcast he shared his views on the economics of clinical sequencing and how long-read sequencing is advancing the ability to sequence an individual’s genome –de novo– and use structural variant calling to make clinical diagnoses. He concluded with the hurdles limiting adoption of clinical sequencing and his vision for the future of genomic medicine.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Targeted Long-Read RNA Sequencing Demonstrates Transcriptional Diversity Driven by Splice-Site Variation in MYBPC3.

To date, clinical sequencing has focused on genomic DNA using targeted panels and exome sequencing. Sequencing of a large hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) cohort revealed that positive identification of a disease-associated variant was returned in only 32% of patients, with an additional 15% receiving inconclusive results. When genome sequencing fails to reveal causative variants, the transcriptome may provide additional diagnostic clarity. A recent study examining patients with genetically undiagnosed muscle disorders found that RNA sequencing, when used as a complement to exome and whole genome sequencing, had an overall diagnosis rate of 35%.

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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

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…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Strain-level metagenomic assignment and compositional estimation for long reads with MetaMaps.

Metagenomic sequence classification should be fast, accurate and information-rich. Emerging long-read sequencing technologies promise to improve the balance between these factors but most existing methods were designed for short reads. MetaMaps is a new method, specifically developed for long reads, capable of mapping a long-read metagenome to a comprehensive RefSeq database with >12,000 genomes in 94% accuracy for species-level read assignment and r2?>?0.97 for the estimation of sample composition on both simulated and real data when the sample genomes or close relatives are present in the classification database. To address novel species and genera, which are comparatively harder to predict,…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A simple segue from Sanger to high-throughput SMRT Sequencing with a M13 barcoding system

High-throughput NGS methods are increasingly utilized in the clinical genomics market. However, short-read sequencing data continues to remain challenged by mapping inaccuracies in low complexity regions or regions of high homology and may not provide adequate coverage within GC-rich regions of the genome. Thus, the use of Sanger sequencing remains popular in many clinical sequencing labs as the gold standard approach for orthogonal validation of variants and to interrogate missed regions poorly covered by second-generation sequencing. The use of Sanger sequencing can be less than ideal, as it can be costly for high volume assays and projects. Additionally, Sanger sequencing…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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…

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