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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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Monday, June 10, 2019

Catching up with Carola and the ‘Solar-Powered’ Sea Slug

Two years ago, Carola Greve and colleagues at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany, were seeking to #SeqtheSlug as part of the 2017 Plant and Animal SMRT Grant competition, and the popular project was a close runner-up. Greve didn’t give up on her quest to sequence the ‘solar-powered’ sea slug. We caught up with her recently at the SMRT Leiden Scientific Symposium, where her update on the sea slug project earned her a Best Poster award.    Why the sea slug?   Although Mollusca represents the second largest animal phylum with around 85,000 extant species, only 23 mollusc genomes…

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

SMRT Leiden Symposium Showcases Successes in Clinical and Conservation Genomics

What can a cute, cuddly, stingless bee from the Brazilian rainforest teach us about eusociality and mitochondrial evolution? Natalia S Araujo wants to find out, and she’s not the only one. As the only bee species in which true polygyny (multiple fertile queens in the same colony) occurs, there is great interest in Melipona bicolor, and its mitochondrial genome (mt genome) was one of the first sequenced in bees. But the sequence was incomplete and lacked information about its mitochondrial gene expression pattern. So Araujo, a postdoctoral researcher of animal genomics in the GIGA Institute of the University of Liège,…

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sequencing of Historical Cholera Sample Surprises Sanger Scientists

They are the unwelcome comeback kids: Measles, mumps and other old-time diseases that were once nearly extinct are on the rise in suburban communities as well as developing nations. In order to better understand the evolution of these microbial menaces, researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Public Health England have been sequencing historical samples deposited in the UK’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). The latest is a strain of cholera-causing bacteria (Vibrio cholerae) extracted in 1916 from the stool of a British soldier who was convalescing in Egypt. Researchers at the Sanger Institute revived the WWI soldier’s bacteria…

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Now Available: Sequel II System Delivers ~8 Times as Much Data as Previous System

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Sequel II System, reducing project costs and timelines with approximately eight times the data output compared to the previous Sequel System. It enables customers to comprehensively detect human variants ranging in size from single nucleotide changes to large, complex structural variants. The system is also ideal for standard applications such as de novo assembly of large genomes and whole transcriptome analysis using the Iso-Seq method. The Sequel II System is based on the proven technology and workflow underlying the previous version of the system, but contains updated hardware to process the new…

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Smoking out Structural Variants in the Cannabis Genome

With its unique medicinal and psychoactive compounds, the popularity of cannabis is spreading… well, like a weed. Now legal in 10 states for recreational use, and in 33 for medical use (with the FDA approval of the first oral cannabis drug for epilepsy on June 25, 2018), the once-forbidden plant is primed to become one of the most talked-about — and valuable — agriculture crops. But what needs to be done to take this promising crop into the clinic? Sound science, accurate testing protocols, and strident tracking systems — all of which can be achieved through genomics, according to Kevin…

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Friday, March 15, 2019

From the Smallest Organisms to the Most Complex, the Future is Bright for Plant & Animal Sequencing

For the thousands of scientists who attended The Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego this January, the sentiment seemed to be “ask not if PacBio is for you, but how PacBio can work best for you.” The answer that emerged during PacBio’s PAG workshop and subsequent SMRT Informatics Developers Conference was a complex one. Recent developments, such as new chemistry, new SMRT Cells, the SMRTbell Express Template Prep Kit, and SMRT Link 6.0 software have already led to faster and easier library prep, longer reads with more data and reliability, better transcript characterization (Iso-Seq) and phasing (FALCON-Unzip) capabilities…

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Asian Aquaculture Industry Benefits From Two New Genome Assemblies

With their large brains, sophisticated sense organs and complex nervous systems, cephalopods could teach us a thing or two about learning, memory, and adaptability. But despite their evolutionary, biological, and economic significance, their genome information is still limited to a few species. To bridge this gap, a team of Korean scientists has assembled the genome of the common long-arm octopus (Octopus minor) using PacBio technology to sequence both the DNA and RNA of the emerging model species. Found in Northeast Asia, particularly in coastal mudflats of South Korea, China, and Japan, O. minor has become a major commercial fishery product…

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Friday, December 21, 2018

The Genomic Gift Worth Giving: New Assembly Could Help Conserve Declining Turtle Dove Populations

Turtle dove. Photo by Andy Morfew You may be more likely to get five gold rings or three French hens than two Turtle doves this Christmas. The subject of the famous holiday carol is in precipitous decline across Europe, with 94 percent of Turtle doves lost since 1995, and fewer than 5,000 breeding pairs left in the UK. In an attempt to save the species, geneticists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute identified it as a priority species to be sequenced as part of a year-long 25th anniversary project. Collaborators at the University of Lincoln sent samples (collected from live birds…

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