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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Sequencing 101: How Does Whole Genome Sequencing Help Us Understand Rare Diseases?

  Rare diseases are defined as diseases that affect a small number of people – fewer than 1 in 2,000 in the European Union and fewer than 200,000 total people (about 1 in 1,500) in the United States. For example, Tay-Sachs disease affects 1 in 300,000 while Cystic Fibrosis is more common and affects 1 in 10,000. Though individual rare diseases affect very few people, collectively they are common and affect over 300 million people worldwide. Advances in Sequencing Technology for Improved Understanding of Rare Diseases With more than 70% of rare diseases being genetic in origin, scientists around the…

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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Reaching a Genomics Milestone – The First Complete Human Genome

It’s a moment three decades in the making: the first complete human genome assembly is here! Reading this you will no doubt feel some sense of déjà vu. After all, the human genome reference was pronounced “done” in 2000, 2001, and again in 2003. But any scientist who has used the reference since then knows that there has never been a single fully sequenced human genome. Until now. HiFi Sequencing Enables the First Complete Sequence of a Human Genome The Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium, a large team of scientists from the National Human Genome Research Institute and dozens of other institutions,…

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Sequencing 101: DNA Extraction – Tips, Kits, & Protocols

If you are like most of us at PacBio you likely learned how to extract DNA in a high school or college biology class, or maybe even in your kitchen. But as you moved on to more high stakes experiments, you may have found that extracting DNA for sequencing in your lab isn’t always as straightforward as lyse, precipitate, wash, suspend. In this introduction to DNA extraction, we will share tips, tricks, and protocols to help make your DNA isolation easier! For optimal results to power biological discovery, sample prep is a critical step in any sequencing project. And with…

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

SMRT Grant Winners – Collaboration Reaches New Heights in Global Science Challenge

Today we’re pleased to announce the three winners of our latest SMRT Grant which called for teams of researchers and collaborative projects that could be addressed using the power of HiFi sequencing. The winners are seeking to solve a diverse set of questions from mussel-hopping transmissible cancer to the power of pistachios to help tackle climate change, and sex determination in bearded dragons.     The 2020 HiFi for All – Collaborations SMRT Grant Program was open to scientists worldwide and offered three winning projects awards of up to 10 SMRT Cells 8M and sequencing on the Sequel II or…

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Sequencing 101: Ploidy, Haplotypes, and Phasing – How to Get More from Your Sequencing Data

The ploidy or number of copies of each chromosome in a genome affects not only the size but also the complexity of the genome. Geneticists often point out that a human does not have “a” genome but rather two genomes, one inherited from the mother and another from the father. The number of complete sets of chromosomes in each cell, or haplotypes, is referred to as ploidy.  Humans and most other animals are diploid (2N), having two sets. Many plants have higher ploidy, for example, the hexaploid (6N) California Redwood has 6 copies of each chromosome. The number of chromosome…

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pediatric Partnership Powered by PacBio Aims to Solve Difficult Rare Disease Cases

Kids have lots of questions. But even the world’s top scientists don’t have all the answers — especially when it comes to rare genetic disorders afflicting children.  Our HiFi reads, highly accurate long reads, generated by our Sequel II and new Sequel IIe Systems, are helping researchers uncover disease-causing genetic variants that had previously gone undetected by other technology, contributing to increased solve rates for rare diseases. We’re particularly excited to see this technology applied to translational research in children. We will be collaborating with Children’s Mercy Kansas City as part of its Genomic Answers for Kids (GA4K) program, which…

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Monday, October 5, 2020

Meet the New Sequel IIe System: Delivering Fast & Affordable HiFi Sequencing

The new Sequel IIe System provides direct access to HiFi sequencing Still soaring from the success of last year’s launch of the award-winning Sequel II System, we’re excited to announce the next evolution of the instrument: the Sequel IIe System. This evolution includes increased computing power and advanced on-instrument data processing. This means the instrument can directly produce the widely coveted, highly accurate long reads, known as HiFi reads, that have made the original Sequel II System indispensable for many labs — and save users time and money in the process.  Just how much of an improvement does the new…

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Colombian SMRT Grant Winners Hope HiFi Sequencing Will Help Save Critically Endangered Toads

The ‘happy toad’ (Atelopus laetissimus) comes in a variety of colors. Meet the ‘happy toad’ Atelopus laetissimus, a harlequin toad found on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia. This toad is brightly colored, with an almost comical slow walk and lots of other unique attributes. But the reason it is delighting scientists and conservationists is its ability to adapt and survive while its relatives are on the brink of extinction. The 2020 Plant and Animal Sciences SMRT Grant Program co-sponsored by PacBio and the DNA Sequencing Center at Brigham Young University will enable a…

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sequencing 101: What’s the Value of Sequencing Full-length RNA Transcripts?

The study of genomics has revolutionized our understanding of science, but the field of transcriptomics grew with the need to explore the functional impacts of genetic variation. While different tissues in an organism may share the same genomic DNA, they can differ greatly in what regions are transcribed into RNA and in their patterns of RNA processing. By reviewing the history of transcriptomics, we can see the advantages of RNA sequencing – using a full-length transcript approach – become clearer. Reaching for the Transcriptome Even before genome sequencing became commonplace, scientists were able to measure gene expression activity using hybridization…

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Review: How Long-Read Sequencing Is Revealing Unseen Genomic Variation

“We are now embarking on an era where all genetic variation in an individual will be completely discovered,” write Glennis Logsdon (@glennis_logsdon), Mitchell Vollger (@mrvollger), and Evan Eichler in a recent Nature Reviews Genetics paper. “Hundreds and ultimately thousands of new human reference genomes will be produced.”  A decade ago that would have sounded impossible, but today this bold proclamation is widely accepted in the genomics community — a telling sign of the remarkable innovation that has driven genome sequencing in recent years. In their review, the University of Washington scientists give credit for much of these accomplishments to advancements in…

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Sequencing 101: Understanding Accuracy in DNA Sequencing

For scientists who utilize DNA sequencing in their research but are not experts in the underlying technology, it can be difficult to determine the accuracy of sequencing results — and even harder to compare accuracy across sequencing platforms. Furthermore, accuracy differs not only between technologies but also across genomic regions as some stretches of the genome are inherently more difficult to read. It is critically important to understand accuracy in DNA sequencing to distinguish important biological information from sequencing errors.   What are the Types of Sequencing Accuracy? HiFi reads are generated by combining multiple consecutive observations of a DNA…

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Data Release: HiFi Sequencing Results for Plants, Animals, and Microbes

UPDATE — November 17, 2020: This paper is now published in Scientific Data. ORIGINAL POST It’s been more than a year since we introduced HiFi sequencing to generate highly accurate long reads. In that time, we’ve seen many PacBio users make HiFi sequencing their go-to setting because it’s simple, reliable, and cost-effective. For scientists who have yet to generate their own HiFi data, we thought it might be helpful to publish a few data sets for exploration and analysis. In a new preprint, we have released HiFi data sets for five samples: mouse, frog, maize, strawberry, and a mock metagenome…

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sequencing 101: Looking Beyond the Single Reference Genome to a Pangenome for Every Species

What is a Pangenome? A pangenome identifies which portions of the genome are unique and which overlap and are therefore core to the species. Unless you have an identical twin, no other person has a genome that is identical to yours. The same is true for other animal, plant, and microbial species that reproduce sexually: the genomes of individuals are unique. Less well known, but equally true, is that individual members of a species do not always share even the exact same genes. Nevertheless, scientists mostly use a single reference genome to represent an entire species: one human genome, one…

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sequencing 101: Why Are Long Reads Important for Studying Viral Genomes?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sudden urgency to virus research and led many of us to dig more deeply into all the tools available for characterizing viral genomes, from RT-PCR to DNA sequencing. For all their outsized impact on human health, viruses have remarkably small and simple genomes, some just a few thousand bases in length, and most lacking any repetitive structures. With such tidy genomes, you may wonder, why would scientists want to sequence them with a long-read technology like PacBio HiFi reads? Quasispecies develop as variants are introduced to the viral genome through mutations. While it is…

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Go Big or Go Home — Tackling a Giant Genome

California redwoods: Not only are they giants in height and age (up to 379 feet high, 29 feet round, and thousands of years old), but the famous towering trees are also derived from a massive 27 Gb genome. Seeking a sequencing challenge for the Sequel II System, we picked the California redwood, or Sequoia sempervirens as it’s known to scientists. There also happened to be several fine specimens at nearby Stanford University. A small crew of PacBio scientists — Emily Hatas (@EmilyHatas), Greg Young (@PacbioGreg), and Michelle Vierra (@the_mvierra) — headed to campus to acquire samples equipped with ice, scissors,…

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