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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 7, 2020

Sequencing 101: From DNA to Discovery – The Steps of SMRT Sequencing

Starting a sequencing project can be daunting. First of all, there are several types of sequencing technologies, each based on unique processes. At PacBio, we use a technology called Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing.   Learn how SMRT Sequencing works in this short video:   Although each sequencing project is unique, there are five main steps to go from DNA to discovery with SMRT Sequencing:   Step 1: Sample Prep Similar to cooking, for the best results, start with the best ingredients. The ideal sequencing starter is high molecular weight DNA. There are plenty of kits on the market that…

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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, March 25, 2020

Sequencing 101: The Evolution of DNA Sequencing Tools

Welcome to the Sequencing 101 blog series – where we will provide introductions to sequencing technology, genomics, and much more! If you’re not immersed in the field of DNA sequencing, it can be challenging to keep up with the rapid evolution among all the platforms and technologies on the market. Let’s start with a quick overview of how these different technologies came about — and how each is used today. The evolution of sequencing technology.   First Generation Sequencing – Starting the Era of Genomics The process of Sanger sequencing. DNA sequencing as we know it originated in the late…

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