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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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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Low-Input Protocol Enables High-Quality Genome Created from Single Mosquito

Anopheles coluzzii mosquito UPDATED January 18, 2019 This paper is now available at Genes. ORIGINAL POST December 19, 2018 High-quality reference and de novo genomes have been celebrated by geneticists, population biologists and conservationists alike, but it’s been a dream deferred for entomologists and others grappling with limited DNA samples, due to previous relatively high DNA input requirements (~5 μg for standard library protocol). A new low-input protocol now makes it possible to create high-quality de novo genome assemblies from just 100 ng of starting genomic DNA, without the need for time-consuming inbreeding or pooling strategies. The targeted release date for…

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Sweet Sequence: Sugarcane Genome Assembly After Five-Year Collaborative Effort

It took nearly 20 years until the technology was right, and five years of hard graft by more than 100 scientists from 16 institutions, but the result was worth it, according to University of Illinois plant biology professor Ray Ming. One of several authors of a paper published and featured on the cover of Nature Genetics reporting the assembly of a 3.13 Gb reference genome of the incredibly complex autopolyploid sugarcane Saccharum spontaneum L, Ming said he dreamed about having a reference genome for sugarcane while working on sugarcane genome mapping in the late 1990s. But sequencing technology was not…

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Barn Swallow Project Helps Introduce PacBio Long Read Technology to Italy

Its reliable return to the same spot year after year has made the barn swallow a beloved symbol of Spring and safe passage, for mariners and landlubbers alike. But our changing climate is altering the birds’ migratory behavior, and Italian ecologists are turning to genetics to figure out how. As reported previously in this blog, scientists at the University of Milan joined forces with researchers from the University of Pavia and California State Polytechnic University to create the first high-quality reference genome for the European barn swallow (Hirundo rustica rustica), using SMRT Sequencing and newly available Bionano Genomics optical mapping…

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tracking the Tuna: How PacBio Sequencing Could Help Save the “King of the Sea”

Northern Bluefin Tuna Their bodies are big, bony and… warm? Unique among bony fish, Atlantic, Pacific and Southern bluefin tuna have a rare endothermic physiology that has garnered great interest among scientists. Like birds, mammals and some sharks, these kings of the sea are capable of conserving internally generated metabolic heat produced from their swimming muscles and viscera, and maintaining tissue temperatures above that of the environment. The fish are also renowned among sushi enthusiasts for their delectable, fat-laden muscle, and prized by fisherman because of the high prices they command. So the preservation of these species is paramount to…

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

At ASHG 2018, Workshop Speakers Discuss SMRT Sequencing Applications for Human Disease

Last month’s annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in San Diego was a terrific reminder of how much progress is being made in this field — both in our basic understanding of human biology and in our ability to rapidly translate discoveries into clinical utility. ASHG 2018 attendees packed into the PacBio workshop. The PacBio team had the privilege of hosting an educational workshop about the value of long-read SMRT Sequencing for human genetic applications. Customers from Mount Sinai and Stanford University offered their perspectives, while PacBio scientists presented data and the technology roadmap. Here, we recap…

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Monday, October 22, 2018

SMRT Sequencing and a Bit of Luck Help Swiss Microbiologists Solve Decades-Old Mystery

It’s a murder mystery of massive proportion, albeit on a miniature scale: Male-killing among several species of insects, caused by selfish symbiotic bacteria. Swiss researchers believe they have finally solved a question that has stumped scientists for decades, with potential implications for pest and infection control. Researchers have identified the toxin responsible for selective killing of male fruit flies (left) using PacBio sequencing. In a recent Nature publication, Toshiyuki Harumoto and Bruno Lemaitre of the Global Health Institute at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, have reported their findings regarding a toxin in Spiroplasma poulsonii, one…

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