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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

i5K Webinar: High-quality de novo insect genome assemblies using PacBio sequencing

PacBio Sequencing is characterized by very long sequence reads (averaging > 10,000 bases), lack of GC-bias, and high consensus accuracy. These features have allowed the method to provide a new gold standard in de novo genome assemblies, producing highly contiguous (contig N50 > 1 Mb) and accurate (> QV 50) genome assemblies. We will briefly describe the technology and then highlight the full workflow, from sample preparation through sequencing to data analysis, on examples of insect genome assemblies, and illustrate the difference these high-quality genomes represent with regard to biological insights, compared to fragmented draft assemblies generated by short-read sequencing.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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, January 6, 2021

User Group Meeting: Sequencing chemistry & application updates

To start Day 1 of the PacBio User Group Meeting, Jonas Korlach, PacBio CSO, provides an update on the latest releases and performance metrics for the Sequel II System. The longest reads generated on this system with the SMRT Cell 8M now go beyond 175,000 bases, while maintaining extremely high accuracy. HiFi mode, for example, uses circular consensus sequencing to achieve accuracy of Q40 or even Q50.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Video Poster: A new approach to Thalassemia and Ataxia carrier screening panels using CRISPR-Cas9 enrichment and long-read sequencing

Although PCR is a cost-effective way to enrich for genomic regions of interest for DNA sequencing, amplifying regions with extreme GC-content and long stretches of short tandem repeat (STR) sequences is often problematic and prone to sequence artifacts. This is especially true when developing multiplexed PCR assays for clinical applications such as carrier screening for multiple genes. The additional challenge is that all PCR primer pairs must be carefully selected to be compatible based on amplicon size and PCR conditions. Due to these experimental design constraints, a single tube with a high number of multiplexed PCR amplicons is difficult to…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

No-amp targeted SMRT sequencing using a CRISPR-Cas9 enrichment method

Targeted sequencing of genomic DNA requires an enrichment method to generate detectable amounts of sequencing products. Genomic regions with extreme composition bias and repetitive sequences can pose a significant enrichment challenge. Many genetic diseases caused by repeat element expansions are representative of these challenging enrichment targets. PCR amplification, used either alone or in combination with a hybridization capture method, is a common approach for target enrichment. While PCR amplification can be used successfully with genomic regions of moderate to high complexity, it is the low-complexity regions and regions containing repetitive elements sometimes of indeterminate lengths due to repeat expansions that…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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

Many genetic disorders are associated with repeat sequence expansions. Obtaining accurate DNA sequence information from these regions will facilitate researchers to further establish the relationship between these genetic disorders and underlying disease mechanisms. Moreover, repeat interruptions have also been shown to act as phenotypic modifiers in some disorders. Targeted sequencing is an economical way to obtain sequence information from one or more defined regions in a genome. However, most targeted enrichment and sequencing methods require some form of DNA amplification. Amplifying large regions with extreme GC content as seen in repeat expansion disorders is challenging and prone to introducing sequence…

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Tuesday, December 22, 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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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Candidate gene screening using long-read sequencing

We have developed several candidate gene screening applications for both Neuromuscular and Neurological disorders. The power behind these applications comes from the use of long-read sequencing. It allows us to access previously unresolvable and even unsequencable genomic regions. SMRT Sequencing offers uniform coverage, a lack of sequence context bias, and very high accuracy. In addition, it is also possible to directly detect epigenetic signatures and characterize full-length gene transcripts through assembly-free isoform sequencing. In addition to calling the bases, SMRT Sequencing uses the kinetic information from each nucleotide to distinguish between modified and native bases.

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Tuesday, December 22, 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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Tuesday, December 22, 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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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Targeted enrichment without amplification and SMRT Sequencing of repeat-expansion disease causative 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. We have developed a…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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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Tuesday, December 22, 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.

Read More »

Tuesday, December 22, 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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