January 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 1)
The Beijing Institute of Genomics (BIG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has acquired eight additional Life Technologies’ SOLiD™ Systems for a variety of genomics studies.
The SOLiD System is the company’s next-generation genomic analysis platform for DNA sequencing and RNA analysis applications. BIG is concentrating its research activities on genomics and bioinformatics, based on its genomics technology platforms and its long-term goal to transform original raw genomics data to useful information and knowledge for life science research.
As part of this effort, BIG is expanding its fleet of SOLiD Systems to a total of nine, with plans to explore mutation profiling of cancer genes, investigations of genetic variation in model organisms, metagenomic analysis of microbes, and discovery and characterization of novel microRNAs. Use of high-throughput genomic analysis technologies such as the SOLiD System, generate vast amounts of data, which scientists analyze to gain a better understanding of how somatic mutations contribute to disease, such as tumor proliferation, explains Chung-I Wu, Ph.D., director of BIG.
“The Beijing Institute of Genomics plays an important role in producing and analyzing complex genomic data. DNA resequencing is the cornerstone of our discoveries and we invest in new technologies to develop a more comprehensive view of biological variation,” he says. “We will benefit from the throughput, flexibility, and sensitivity of these [SOLiD] systems, which we expect will contribute greatly to major genomic initiatives, such as resequencing, to identify pathogen genomics and genetics, cancer genetics, and to conduct individual research programs within the Institute.”
Wide Range of Projects
Dr. Wu notes that the researchers at BIG plan to conduct a wide range of large-scale resequencing and RNA analysis projects. For example, they plan to use the SOLiD System, combined with the new SOLiD Small RNA Expression Analysis Kit, to investigate the role of coding and noncoding transcripts in an effort to develop RNA expression profiles in stem cells.
Comprehensive RNA expression profiles of individual stem cells may reveal clues about molecular variation between genetically identical cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms that trigger pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into specific cell types, including cancer cells, explains Dr. Wu.
“The diversity of applications for which BIG researchers will employ the SOLiD System, demonstrates the tremendous flexibility of this platform,” notes Kip Miller, president of the genetic systems division at Life Technologies. “The system continues to rapidly evolve, with the latest version of the platform, SOLiD 3 System, [leading to] significantly higher sample throughput. The new system, which is to be launched in early 2009, will yield more than 20 gigabases of mappable sequence data, or 400 million tags per run. This vast improvement in data output per run is expected to further decrease the cost of genomic sequencing for multiple applications, including DNA, RNA, and epigenetic analysis.”
Life Technologies was created by the recent merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems.