Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute adopts optical mapping technology

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Hinxton, England) has purchased an Argus optical mapping system from OpGen, Inc. (Gaithersburg, MD) to reduce time and cost of whole genome sequence assembly. The Mapping and Archive Sequencing Division at the Sanger Institute plans to begin optical mapping of bacteria and parasites this month.

Advances in DNA sequencing continue to drive down the cost and increase the amount of sequence data available. However, these advances still leave much of the genome uncharacterized and unordered. Genome centers that have dramatically increased their sequencing throughput are now finding the sequence finishing process to be the bottleneck in whole genome sequencing.

By utilizing an optical map as the whole genome scaffold, researchers are now able to readily identify gaps in the sequence and target specific areas of the genome for additional sequencing. This greatly reduces the need for thousands of cloning, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing reactions involved with traditional finishing techniques. In addition, optical mapping provides a sequence independent method for whole genome sequence assembly validation. Sequencing projects can now be completed in weeks instead of months, greatly increasing the throughput while driving down the cost of whole genome sequencing.

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Posted by Lee Mather

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