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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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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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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SMRT Grant Winners: Three Scientists Selected to Use HiFi Sequencing to Tackle Genomic Challenges

  PacBio highly accurate long reads, known as HiFi reads, offer all the benefits of long-read sequencing with accuracy comparable to short-read sequencing. To celebrate this new paradigm in sequencing technology, we hosted the 2019 HiFi for All SMRT Grant this past fall. This SMRT Grant was open to scientists worldwide and offered three winning projects each up to six SMRT Cells 8M and sequencing on the Sequel II System by our Certified Service Providers and co-sponsors. In response to our call for projects across the range of SMRT Sequencing applications, we received many truly compelling proposals, which made selecting…

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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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Friday, December 27, 2019

SMRT Sequencing Highlights – Top Publications of 2019

With the release of the award-winning Sequel II System, 2019 was an exciting year for the SMRT Sequencing community. We were inspired by our users’ significant contributions to science across a wide range of disciplines. As the year draws to a close, we have taken this opportunity to reflect on the many achievements made by members of our community, from newly sequenced plant and animal species to human disease breakthroughs.   “It has been another phenomenal year for science. The introduction of the Sequel II System will accelerate discovery even more, and I can’t wait to see what 2020 will…

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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, December 11, 2019

Long-Read Sequencing Could Improve the Sensitivity and Precision of 16S Studies Says Jackson Lab Study

It’s time to revisit the way scientists are using 16S rRNA gene sequencing to study microorganisms, according to a team of Jackson Laboratory researchers.  Popular targets for taxonomy and phylogeny studies because of their highly conserved nature, amplified sequences of the 16S ribosomal RNA genes can be compared with reference databases to determine the identity of the microorganisms that comprise a metagenomic sample. Sequences with a > 95% match are generally considered to represent the same genus, for example, while > 97% matches are considered the same species. However, these matches are often made by sequencing only part of the nine-region, ~1500 bp…

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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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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Finding the Females: New Reference Genome Leads to Better Sex Determination Technique in Tuna

A team of Japanese researchers has used a new Pacific bluefin tuna reference genome to identify male-specific DNA markers in the fish The cultivation and conservation of one of the most important commercial fishes in the world may come down to sex determination — how can you successfully breed a species without knowing the sex of your stock? A Japanese research team has come up with a solution, thanks to a new Pacific bluefin tuna reference genome and the male-specific DNA markers they were able to identify as a result. In a study published recently in the Nature journal Scientific…

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

When Complete Isn’t Complete: C. Elegans Genome Gets a Makeover

Cover artwork by Daisy S. Lim It was the first multicellular eukaryotic genome sequenced to apparent completion, but it turns out the Caenorhabditis elegans reference that’s been used as a resource for the past 20 years does not exactly correspond with any N2 strain that exists today.  Assembled using sequence data from N2 and CB1392 populations of uncertain lineage grown in at least two different laboratories during the 1980s and 1990s, accuracy of the C. elegans reference genome is limited both by genetic variants and by the limitations of the technology of the time (clone-based Sanger technology). It is believed…

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Friday, August 30, 2019

From Parakeet to Potoo, International Consortium Releases 100 High-Quality Vertebrate Genomes

100 high-quality assemblies released by the Vertebrate Genome Project include the genome of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise With her distinctive dark eyeshadow, grey lipstick-like markings and delicate disposition, she was a natural film star. And her life certainly provided enough drama for any Hollywood blockbuster, complete with high-speed boat chases in pursuit of black market “cocaine of the sea” cartels. Unfortunately, her ending was not a happy one. But efforts by an international consortium of conservation geneticists are making sure her legacy isn’t lost. The DNA of one of the last remaining vaquita porpoises in the world has been…

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

New Initiative to Generate 5,000 High-Quality Microbial Genomes for Chinese Database

An ambitious project to sequence 5,000 microbial genomes was jointly initiated by a consortium of 10 institutions across China, including Nankai University, China CDC, Academy of Military Medical Science, Third Institute of Oceanography-Ministry of Natural Resources, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology-CAS, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, Shandong University, Tianjin University of Science & Technology, East China University of Science and Technology, and Tianjin Biochip Corporation (TBC).  TBC, a PacBio service provider in China, has led the sequencing phase of the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. We recently sat down with…

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Application Updates: Introducing Iso-Seq Express for Faster RNA Sequencing

Seeking to sequence and characterize entire transcriptomes in one go? Our new Iso-Seq protocol and reverse-transcriptase PCR kit makes it easier, speedier and cheaper.  Run on the new Sequel II System, the completely revamped Iso-Seq Express workflow achieves whole transcriptome characterization from a single SMRT Cell 8M delivering up to 400 Gb, and at a third of the cost, or less. Yield has also increased on the Sequel System, with 3.0 sequencing chemistry typically delivering up to 30 Gb per SMRT Cell 1M for our RNA sequencing application.  The new protocol requires three times less RNA input (300 ng) and…

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