April 24, 2015  |  General

On DNA Day, Celebrating New Firsts

Hooray for DNA!  We’re excited to celebrate this day as it it honors two major accomplishments in the field: the 1953 publication of the structure of DNA, and the 2003 completion of the Human Genome Project.

With the amount of attention DNA has received in the past century, it is hard to believe that in some ways we are still just getting acquainted with the molecule. Here at PacBio, we are proud to be helping life sciences researchers achieve new firsts with DNA. Because it does not use amplification, our Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) Sequencing platform provides the purest view of individual DNA fragments.

Since last year’s DNA Day, scientists have continued making inroads. One of our favorite projects was the first personal transcriptome sequenced with long reads from a team at Stanford. In other advances with the human genome, this Nature paper reported impressive work to improve the reference genome with long-read data, while another recent effort used long-read data to dramatically increase the amount of structural variation that could be detected. We also enjoyed this review article demonstrating studies that are elucidating pluripotency in human stem cells.

It’s been a great year for novel studies of microbes as well. We were amazed by the findings from a study of single-celled Oxytricha trifallax; the complexity of its genome shuffling before and after reproduction was astonishing. A team at Sanger presented the first-ever analysis of a Shigella isolate collected from a soldier in World War I. And in clinically oriented work, scientists at NIH traced the transmission path of an outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria.

That’s just a sampling of the innovative work we’ve seen in the past year as researchers glean new findings about DNA. On DNA Day, we honor these achievements and look forward to the amazing discoveries to be made in the coming year.

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