Firms claim Nextera requires just 15 minutes hands-on time to prepare sequencer-ready libraries.

Illumina has acquired Epicentre Biotechnologies, a provider of nucleic acid sample preparation reagents and enzymes used in sequencing and microarrays. The acquisition means Illumina can now directly exploit Epicentre’s Nextera™ technology for preparing next-generation sequencing libraries. Illumina says its existing sequencing customers have been fast to adopt the Nextera sequencing sample preparation kits, which require 10-10,000 times less DNA than other technologies and enable users to prepare sequencer-ready libraries from genomic DNA with less than 15 minutes of hads-on time, according to the companies.

“As next-generation sequencing continues to improve in throughput and cost, there’s a critical need for sample prep to evolve as well, to lower costs, handle higher sample volumes, and reduce both hands-on time and overall processing time,” notes Jay Flatley, Illumina president and CEO. “Epicentre’s Nextera technology provides a step-change improvement in library prep that will translate into greater ease of use, lower costs, and faster turnaround times for sequencing applications.”

The firm says the addition of Epicentre’s enzyme engineering and sample preparation reagent development expertise to Ilumina’s own products and services will generate a combined entity capable of offering an end-to-end solution for next-generation sequencing as well as microarray and real time PCR applications.

The Nextera technology uses in vitro transposition to prepare sequencer-ready libraries from genomic DNA for multiple sequencing platforms. The technology simultaneously fragments and tags DNA in a single-tube reaction, Epicentre claims. In a modified verison of the classic transposition reaction, the technology uses free transposon ends and a transposase to form a Transposome™ complex. When this complex is incubated with target double-stranded DNA, the target is fragmented and the transferred strand of the transposon end oligonucleotide is covalently attached to the 5´ end of the target fragment.

Nextera can be used to generate di-tagged libraries, with optional barcoding, which are compatible with Roche/454 or Illumina/Solexa® platforms, Epicentre notes. To generate platform-specific libraries, either free transposon ends or appended transposon ends can be used. Platform-specific tags (and optional bar coding) are introduced by 10 cycles of PCR. The sequencing adaptors enable amplification by emulsion PCR, bridge PCR, and other methods, and the amplified library can be subsequently sequenced using the appropriate primers.

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