June 24, 2016

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Scientists Produce High-Quality Maize Transcriptome with PacBio SMRT Sequencing

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 24, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Improvements in maize breeding are required to feed a growing population and will depend on a more complete understanding of global gene expression in the plant. In a new publication from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), scientists produced the largest collection of full-length transcripts for the maize genome and a significantly improved genome annotation using Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) Sequencing and the Iso-Seq™ analysis method from Pacific Biosciences. The work appears online today in Nature Communications.

Led by CSHL scientists Doreen Ware, who is also affiliated with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Bo Wang, the team embarked on the project to leverage the advantages that SMRT Sequencing and the Iso-Seq method offer for transcriptome analysis in plants. The Iso-Seq protocol allows scientists to generate long reads covering full-length gene transcripts, providing a more accurate view of gene structure, gene expression, and important mechanisms such as alternative gene splicing.

Iso-Seq analysis of SMRT Sequencing data more than doubled the number of isoforms, corrected numerous previously mis-annotated gene models, and identified many novel genes and long non-coding RNAs. Additionally, the team showed that long reads are even more important than expected for transcriptome studies. The average transcript length in this project — almost 3 kb — is much longer than that from the previous maize annotation, highlighting a strong bias limitation in previous approaches.

“Although data from short-read sequencing have accumulated over recent years, they do not provide full-length sequence for each RNA, limiting their utility for defining alternatively spliced forms,” Wang et al. write. “In some cases, short-read sequencing generates low-quality transcripts, leading to incorrect annotations.”

“We congratulate the scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for this very impressive work,” said Jonas Korlach, Chief Scientific Officer of Pacific Biosciences. “Maize is an incredibly difficult genome to work with, and therefore really benefits from the advantages of SMRT Sequencing and the Iso-Seq method through their ability to produce highly accurate full-length transcripts without the need for post-sequence assembly.”

More information is available in this blog post, and in the paper, “Unveiling the complexity of the maize transcriptome by single-molecule long-read sequencing.”

About Pacific Biosciences

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PACB) offers sequencing systems to help scientists resolve genetically complex problems. Based on its novel Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) technology, Pacific Biosciences’ products enable: de novo genome assembly to finish genomes in order to more fully identify, annotate and decipher genomic structures; full-length transcript analysis to improve annotations in reference genomes, characterize alternatively spliced isoforms in important gene families, and find novel genes; targeted sequencing to more comprehensively characterize genetic variations; and real-time kinetic information for epigenome characterization. Pacific Biosciences’ technology provides high accuracy, ultra-long reads, uniform coverage, and is the only DNA sequencing technology that provides the ability to simultaneously detect epigenetic changes. PacBio® sequencing systems, including consumables and software, provide a simple, fast, end-to-end workflow for SMRT Sequencing. More information is available at

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this press release that are not historical are forward-looking statements, including, among other things, statements relating to future uses, quality or performance of, or benefits of using, products or technologies, and other future events. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, changes in circumstances and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Pacific Biosciences’ control and could cause actual results to differ materially from the information expressed or implied by forward-looking statements made in this press release. Factors that could materially affect actual results can be found in Pacific Biosciences’ most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Pacific Biosciences’ most recent reports on Forms 8-K, 10-K and 10-Q, and include those listed under the caption “Risk Factors.”

Pacific Biosciences undertakes no obligation to revise or update information in this press release to reflect events or circumstances in the future, even if new information becomes available.



Nicole Litchfield



Trevin Rard


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Source: Pacific Biosciences, Inc.

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