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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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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Webinar: Increasing Solve Rates for Rare and Mendelian Diseases with Long-Read Sequencing

It’s well known that finding the genetic cause of rare diseases can be complex — that’s why so many remain unsolved. But researchers are beginning to get a grasp on just how complex these conditions can be, thanks to the heightened power of PacBio. PacBio principal scientist Aaron Wenger kicked off a recent webinar with a quote from University of Washington scientist Evan Eichler, who said “there are three key aspects to genetic disease associations: comprehensive variant discovery, accurate allele-frequency determination, and an understanding of the pattern of normal variation and its effect on expression.”  Wenger explained how HiFi reads…

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Webinar: Using SMRT Sequencing to Understand SARS-CoV-2 and the Host Immune Response

As the flurry of research around the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues at an unprecedented pace, scientists are beginning to tackle some of the more complex immunological responses with the help of Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing. Hundreds of people tuned in live to a special May 7 webinar, “Understanding SARS-CoV-2 and host immune response to COVID-19 with PacBio sequencing.” Meredith Ashby, Director of Microbial Genomics at PacBio, described some of the resources being generated by both PacBio and our users in order to help labs who are using SMRT Sequencing technology to investigate SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. These include two microbial sequencing…

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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, 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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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sequencing 101: Video Introduction to PacBio Sequencing and the Sequel II System

We’re pleased to release a short video describing PacBio Sequencing and our latest platform, the Sequel II System. If you’ve ever wondered how Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing works, what the Sequel II System is, and what applications are available, this video is a great place to start. We are excited to share the capabilities of our Sequel II System as it makes SMRT Sequencing affordable for scientists in any lab and provides comprehensive views of genomes, transcriptomes, or epigenomes. The Sequel II System also produces highly accurate long reads, known as HiFi reads, to deliver the highest quality sequencing…

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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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Monday, March 16, 2020

A Menagerie of New Genomes Released by International Ensembl Project

The new and updated species in Ensembl 99 from the Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP)   Meerkats, yaks, geese, and lots of flies — oh my! A full menagerie of new and updated animal genomes has been released by the Ensembl project.  The Ensembl 99 release includes a variety of vertebrates, plants, mosquitos, and flies, as well as updates of human gene annotation and variation data. Among them are 38 new species and two dog breeds (Great Dane and Basenji), as well as four updated genome assemblies. Many were created using PacBio sequencing data.    Thirteen of the new assemblies have…

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Friday, February 28, 2020

A Rare Opportunity to Help Tackle Daughter’s Rare Disease

The rarest day on the calendar is February 29th — which makes it the perfect time to celebrate Rare Disease Day. On this day, we join millions of people around the world making time to honor the patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and scientists who deal with rare diseases every day.  Zoe Harting was diagnosed with Type 1 SMA and was not expected to live past the age of 2, but is now reaching unprecedented milestones as an energetic 7-year-old, thanks to an experimental treatment. And we didn’t have to look far to find someone affected.  Bioinformation John Harting, of our…

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

NARMS Scientists Track Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Bacteria Using SMRT Sequencing

Launched in 1996, NARMS is a U. S. public health surveillance system that tracks antimicrobial susceptibility of select foodborne enteric bacteria. We hear a lot about the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in human health, but it turns out this is just the most visible place it appears as it moves through our complex modern environment. For example, when intensive farming is used to feed large urban populations, antibiotic resistance can first emerge on farms and gain access to human communities through the food system.   One of the key groups on the front lines of monitoring antibiotic resistance from farm…

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Project to Rapidly Sequence Maize Pangenome Delivers Publicly Available Resource

Matt Hufford, associate professor at Iowa State University, helped produce a 26-line maize pangenome assembly collection Maize researchers have been rejoicing over a New Year’s gift delivered by a group of 33 scientists: A 26-line “pangenome” reference collection.  The multi-institutional consortium of researchers used the Sequel System and BioNano Genomics optical mapping to create the assemblies and high-confidence annotations. They released the results on January 9, and in several presentations at the Plant and Animal Genome XXVIII Conference, less than two years after the ambitious project was funded by a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant.  The collection includes comprehensive,…

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Release of Six New Reference-Quality Genomes Reveals Superpowers of Bats

Photo of a pale spear-nosed bat (Phyllostomus discolor) courtesy of the Rossiter Lab (@rossiterlab) Bat lovers and animal researchers have been waiting for insights into the evolution and remarkable genetic adaptations of our winged mammalian friends, ever since the global Bat1K initiative announced its quest to decode the genomes of all 1,300 species of bats using SMRT Sequencing and other technologies. Now, the first six reference-quality genomes have been released on the Hiller Lab Genome Browser, and described in a pre-print by Sonja Vernes (@Sonja_Vernes), Michael Hiller (@hillermich) and Gene Myers (@TheGeneMyers) of the Max Planck Institute, Emma Teeling (@EmmaTeeling1) of…

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

SMRT Sequencing to Help Reveal Secrets of the Soil in Understudied South-East Asian Rainforests

The tropical rainforests of Danum Valley, Borneo, is full of dipterocarp trees, which have a particular symbiotic relationship with fungi that is rare in rainforests elsewhere in the world. Photo by Joe Taylor The most important creatures in a tropical rainforest aren’t necessarily the ones you can see. They work their magic underground, recycling organic matter and processing and transporting vital nutrients for their leafy neighbors above ground.  Microbiologist Joe Taylor wants to learn all about what they are and what they do. And now a grant from PacBio and Maryland Genomics will enable him to reveal some of the…

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Webinar Summary: Need accurate isoform-level characterization? Iso-Seq is the answer

Traditional RNA-Seq is done by fragmenting cDNA, and then sequencing the fragmented reads with paired-end sequencing. The problem comes when trying to identify the full-length isoform during assembly. This is computationally challenging, and sometimes intractable.  Iso-Seq is a method of full-length transcript sequencing that eliminates the need for assembly The solution? Long-read isoform sequencing, according to PacBio Principal Scientist Elizabeth Tseng and PacBio user Gloria Sheynkman, a research fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The two recently participated in a webinar, sharing their experiences using PacBio’s Iso-Seq method. Tseng started by explaining the method and some of its applications.  “In contrast…

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Mapping the NLRome: Research Teams Turn to SMRT Sequencing to Trace Plant Immunity

There’s the genome, the transcriptome, the microbiome… and now the NLRome?  Breeders and pathologists have long been interested in uncovering the secrets of plant immunity, and much of their attention has been focused on receptors that can activate immune signalling: cell-surface proteins that recognize microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), and intracellular proteins that detect pathogen effectors, including nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs).  Hundreds of NLR genes can be found in the genomes of flowering plants. They are believed to form inflammasome-like structures, or resistosomes, that control cell death following pathogen recognition, and are being investigated as candidates for engineering new pathogen…

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