Applied Biosystems' new platform enables human genome sequencing for $10,000

16 February 2009

Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE), has begun shipment of a new, genomic analysis platform, the SOLiD 3 System. The company says the new system delivers a roadmap that will ultimately enable scientists to sequence a human genome for less than $10,000 dollars in 2009.

This advanced genomics system enables life science researchers to sequence entire genomes of all organisms at a much lower cost. It also expands the menu of applications into gene expression and epigenetic analysis, ultimately allowing customers to move one step closer to mainstream use of genomic data for clinical research and personalized medicine.

The SOLiD 3 System, which is distinguished by unparalleled throughput and unmatched accuracy, has generated 40 gigabases of data per sequencing run in Applied Biosystems’ research and development laboratories, with an accuracy of 99.94% due to 2-base encoding algorithms.

The combination of these performance attributes further establishes Applied Biosystems’ next-generation sequencing approach as the technology platform of choice for a broad range of advanced genomics research. The SOLiD System is also achieving 100 base pair read lengths per sequencing run, enabling the platform’s use for metagenomic and de novo applications. Additionally, the system has demonstrated up to 1 billion sequencing tags per run for RNA analysis applications.

“The launch of the SOLiD 3 System represents a revolutionary step in next-generation sequencing,” said Greg Lucier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies. “The ability to sequence an entire genome at ever lower costs and with greater efficiency will enable fundamental changes in how we identify and treat disease. Life Technologies is committed to remaining on the forefront of sequencing technology with the current generation, as well as future breakthroughs.”

The new SOLiD 3 System is utilizing the combined power of Life Technologies to enable a suite of integrated, application-focused workflow solutions. These workflows accelerate genomic discovery, characterization, and screening for large-scale genome mapping and disease studies.

Expanded menu of applications encourages new experimental approaches

In order to understand complex biological processes, researchers need a comprehensive suite of applications to conduct global analysis of cellular networks at all levels. The SOLiD 3 System will dramatically improve research performance, throughput, quality, and cost across a wide range of applications, including epigenomic, transcriptome and genome analysis, driving standardization on a single platform.

With the SOLiD 3 System, life science researchers will be able to conduct comprehensive investigations of gene variation, gene expression and gene regulation in tandem, in order to develop a more comprehensive, system-wide view of basic biological function.

By combining these applications with the availability of lower cost genomic data on the SOLiD 3 System, life scientists will be able to accelerate disease association and biomarker discovery studies to improve diagnostics and more effectively manage disease.

“The SOLiD 3 System is the most scalable platform on the market and will allow our customers to move beyond single genome sequencing into gene expression profiling, making it the primary technology for system biology and disease studies,” said Kip Miller, President of Genetic Systems at Life Technologies. “We will continue to invest significant R&D resources to further enhance the SOLiD platform, continuing to enhance performance, while driving costs downward toward the $1,000 genome milestone.”

The SOLiD System is widely used around the world in research laboratories, genome centres, core and contract service facilities, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Researchers are utilizing the SOLiD technology for a variety of genomics applications, including resequencing for disease studies, transcriptome analysis, de novo sequencing and methylation profiling.

Jesse Gray, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Greenberg Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School, has extensive experience with the SOLiD technology and is upgrading to the SOLiD 3 System to continue his research involving an in-vitro model for neuronal activation.

In one study, the researchers are conducting RNA sequencing to examine how gene expression changes when neurons are activated by potassium depolarization. Using the same model, researchers are also using the SOLiD 3 System to look at protein transcription factors binding to DNA, using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing. By combining the two data sets, researchers have been able to uncover aspects of activity-induced gene expression that were previously undetected.

“One of the most promising and exciting aspects of next-generation sequencing technologies is the potential they afford to gain deeper insight into the evolution of genomes,” said Dr. Gray. “Up until now, we’ve been able to study the evolution of genomes by looking at the conservation of sequence throughout a broad range of phylogenies. What we'll be able to see going forward is what has actually changed throughout the course of evolution in the genome and how those changes alter which RNAs are produced, which ultimately leads to phenotypic evolution.”

Applied Biosystems is a global leader in providing innovative instrument systems to accelerate academic and clinical research, drug discovery and development, pathogen detection and forensic DNA analysis. The technologies it markets include a robust line of DNA sequencing systems and chemistries to meet the increasing demands of the scientific community for higher throughput, more sophisticated DNA sequencing solutions. Applied Biosystems, together, with Invitrogen – a leading provider of platform independent, essential life science technologies for disease and drug research, bioproduction and diagnostics – is part of Life Technologies Corporation, which markets the life science industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions for molecular and cell biology. Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen products are used in nearly every major laboratory in the world.

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