Frustrations with sample prep workflows and the limitations of current technologies were expressed by many presenters at the 15th annual AGBT (Advances in Genome Biology & Technology) meeting, which was held this week in Marco Island, FL. Presciently, a handful of vendors arrived prepared to showcase new and/or improved products aimed at streamlining notoriously labor-intensive, time-consuming, and frustrating workflows.

Illumina got a jump on the competition by introducing its NeoPrep system last month. Expected to be available later this year, NeoPrep is a push-button library preparation system that provides a simpler workflow to go from DNA or RNA to libraries ready for sequencing. It will prepare up to 16 libraries per run, starting from as little as 1 ng of input for some assays.

Qiagen boasted a slew of product introductions at AGBT including several products designed specifically to help next-generation sequencing (NGS) users deal with difficult-to-handle samples. GeneRead DNA FFPE Kits were designed to enable efficient purification of DNA from FFPE tissue sections. REPLI-g®WTA Single Cell Kit and REPLI-g®Cell WGA & WTA Kits will enable transcriptomic NGS analysis from single cells and comparative genomic and transcriptomic analysis from the same small sample. Another novel product, new exosome sample-preparation kits, will enable processing of nucleic acids from exosomes. The kits, which will be available later this year, will include technology developed by Exosome Diagnostics that allows noninvasive detection of key gene mutations and gene expressions in blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Kapa Biosystems showcased a suite of new products designed to improve performance and workflows at AGBT. The KAPA hgDNA Quantification and QC Kit is a qPCR-based assay used to assess the quality of FFPE material prior to NGS sample preparation. The kit is available now and compatible with all Illumina and Ion Torrent NGS platforms. KAPA Hyper Prep Kit is a second-generation DNA library preparation kit that streamlines conventional library preparation workflows and improves library yields. The KAPA Hyper Prep Kit is compatible with all Illumina NGS platforms and will be commercially available in early Q2. The KAPA Stranded mRNA-Seq Kit, which will also be available later this year, is an RNA library preparation kit for gene expression and copy number analysis applications. The kit provides a streamlined workflow, 99 percent strandedness, and improved detection of challenging GC-rich and low-abundance transcripts.

Sage Science is determined to help researchers get the most out of every sample with the release of its SageELF technology for DNA and protein fractionation. According to the company, this new instrument will be especially useful for preserving precious samples and has applications in NGS as well as bottom-up or top-down proteomics experiments. The SageELF generates 12 contiguous fractions from whole DNA or protein samples. For DNA or cDNA sequencing, that allows scientists to generate libraries with multiple insert sizes from the same sample, which has applications in genome sequencing, structural variant detection, and identification of rare splice variants.

New to AGBT was GenCell Biosystems, which unveiled the CLiC LPTM, an automated benchtop library prep workflow for NGS that will save time, money, and consumables, according to Kieran Curran, the company’s founder and CEO. The CLiC LP employs GenCell’s Composite Liquid Cell (CLC) Technology, which mimics natural cell structure by fully encapsulating all reactions in oil, thus eliminating the need for plastic consumables. Additionally, the protocol-agnostic open architecture can deliver microfluidic miniaturization with as little as 300 nL of a starting sample.

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