New DNA sequencing system provides highest accuracy, longest reads

Huntsville, Ala. — The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has purchased the latest sequencing system, manufactured by Pacific Biosciences, for use in the Institute’s plant genomics research. The technology will enable the Institute’s Genome Sequencing Center to solve current, real-world problems facing agriculture today.

The PacBio RS II is a Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®), DNA sequencing system that provides the highest consensus accuracy and longest read lengths of any available sequencing technology. SMRT sequencing is ideal for de novo assembly, characterization of genetic variation, methylation analysis, microbiology studies, and more.

“We’re very pleased to see the HudsonAlpha Institute add the PacBio RS II to expand their sequencing capabilities. The Genome Sequencing Center is fully equipped to immediately apply the long unbiased reads of SMRT Sequencing towards challenging and complex plant genome projects,” said Kevin Corcoran, senior vice president of market development at Pacific Biosciences.

Under the direction of HudsonAlpha faculty investigators Jane Grimwood, Ph.D., and Jeremy Schmutz, the Genome Sequencing Center is one of the few centers in the world performing de novo sequencing of plants and applying genomic techniques to understand how plants function in response to environmental stimuli. For the GSC, the PacBio RS II system could provide benefits for plant research including more complete plant genome reference assemblies, long and unbiased sequencing through DNA that can’t be sequenced on other available platforms, and access to full length gene sequences for gene discovery

“We are specifically interested in applying the PacBio longer reads to challenging genomic sequencing problems such as sequencing hybrid outbred and tetraploid plant genomes, both of which are extremely difficult scientific problems to solve,” Schumtz said. “These reference genomes are required for genomic enabled improvement efforts of crops, and we intend to establish more crop reference genomes and genomic infrastructures using the PacBio technology.”

HudsonAlpha’s investment reflects its plan to expand its position as a highly valued research partner providing genomic data analysis and interpretation with exceptional genomic data quality. Technology such as the PacBio RS II and the Illumina HiSeq X Ten, which HudsonAlpha acquired in 2014, enables researchers to sequence and analyze genomic data expeditiously and efficiently to turn the promise of genomics research into solutions that improve human health and quality of life.

About the Genome Sequencing Center

The HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center is a nonprofit research group, located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, focusing on the generation of high quality plant and fungal genomic resources for the scientific community. We specialize in eukaryotic whole genome sequence, assembly, and analysis together with improvement or finishing of complex eukaryotic genomes.

About HudsonAlpha

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological problems. Its mission is three-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; fostering biotech entrepreneurship; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus allow serendipity to yield results in medicine and agriculture. Since opening in 2008, HudsonAlpha, under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, has built a name for itself in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and boasts 27 biotech companies on campus.

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