454 Life Sciences Launches the GS FLX Titanium Series Reagents, Effectively Replacing Traditional Sanger Sequencing

(PresseBox) (Branford, USA, ) 454 Life Sciences Corporation, a Roche company, announced the launch of the new GS FLX Titanium series reagents and software that are transforming the life science's industry. The new reagent kits provide individual sequencing reads with an improved Q20 length of 400 base pairs (99% accuracy at the 400th base and higher for preceding bases) and a five-fold increase in throughput to 400 - 600 million base pairs per instrument run. The new level of performance solidifies the position of 454 Life Science as the new gold standard in sequencing, effectively replacing traditional Sanger sequencing for most applications.

A testament to the transformational power of these new performance advancements is the increase in unit placements at major North American genome centers. While Baylor College of Medicine was the first to install ten Genome Sequencer FLX units, Washington University in St. Louis was quick to follow with an increase to eight units. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard now has ten units installed and the Joint Genome Institute has increased their install base to eight units.

The first GS FLX Titanium series kits were delivered for development and evaluation purposes to these centers earlier this year. Feedback on the performance of the reagents and software has been very positive, confirming the strength of the new system. In fact, major genome centers have already put the GS FLX Titanium reagents into production. "We had the privilege of being the first early access site for the new GS FLX Titanium series reagents and are happy to say that its performance is as 454 Life Sciences promised it would be," said Dr. Richard Gibbs, Professor and Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine. "The new chemistry effectively replaces Sanger Sequencing and we are in the process of implementing it on our ten Genome Sequencer FLX instruments."

Dr. Chad Nusbaum, Co-Director of the Genome Biology Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, another early access site, stated "We are extremely enthusiastic about the potential of the new GS FLX Titanium reagent series to reduce costs and increase quality. This system will enable us to expand our scientific reach and tackle projects that were previously too expensive to be practical. We are in the process of developing methods to leverage the power of the new 400 base-pair sequencing reads, in particular for de novo assembly approaches for large genomes."

"Our experience with assembly of Drosophila from the long GS FLX Titanium reads has been extremely positive. We achieved N50 contig sizes of 30-50 kilobases with 12-fold sequence coverage of the genomes and a N50 scaffold size in excess of 3 Mb when adding the unique 3K and 20K paired end reads of 454 Life Sciences," said Dr. Stephen Richards, Assistant Professor at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine. "Comparison against the reference D. melanogaster genome has been excellent, demonstrating that assembly with the GS FLX Titanium series reads is at least equivalent to draft 8X Sanger reads while being dramatically faster and an order of magnitude less expensive."

Dr. Rob Nicol, Director of Sequencing Operations at the Broad Institute added, "In addition to longer 400 base-pair reads and higher sequencing read density, the improvements in the new Titanium series enable the development of efficient and very high throughput workflows for large scale production sequencing, such as those needed in microbial whole genome sequencing efforts like the Human Microbiome Project. The more efficient steps enabled by the GS FLX Titanium series also allow us to streamline workflows, greatly reducing the time from sample to data to results."

In preparation for the launch of the GS FLX Titanium series reagents, the early access program was expanded to other customers. "Our initial validation results for the GS FLX Titanium series reagents have been very promising. The increased read length and yield should allow us to move into production with the new chemistry as soon as the reagents become available" said Dr. Yu-Hui Rogers, Vice President of Core Technology Development & Services at J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). "This new chemistry, along with the capability to obtain paired-end sequence reads from libraries of varying insert sizes, will greatly enhance the utility of the 454 system for several important sequencing applications at JCVI including human resequencing and metagenomic sequencing."

"We are pleased to offer the GS FLX Titanium series reagents to a rapidly expanding customer base," said Chris McLeod, President and CEO of 454 Life Sciences. "The Genome Sequencer FLX System is quickly becoming the new gold standard in DNA sequencing, offering a number of performance, accuracy, and clear cost advantages over both traditional Sanger sequencing and the numerous so-called micro-read technologies."

The new technical performance was achieved through advancements in reagents and software, while not requiring any instrument hardware changes. As a result, current users of the Genome Sequencer FLX System are ready to take advantage of these advancements without any costly instrument upgrades. "We are proud to provide scientists with this significant performance upgrade. The Joint Genome Institute, for example, was able to generate over 650 million bases in a single instrument run", explained Michael Egholm, Vice President of Research & Development at 454 Life Sciences. "Our platform enables scientists to quickly obtain meaningful results, as shown by the impressive rate of publication in top tier journals. The extraordinary performance improvement of the new GS FLX Titanium series reagents is already acknowledged by the market, where capillary sequencing instruments are being retired and customers are migrating to the 454 Sequencing platform."

454 Life Sciences, a center of excellence of Roche Applied Science, develops and commercializes the innovative 454 Sequencing system for ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing. Specific applications include de novo sequencing and re-sequencing of genomes, metagenomics, RNA analysis, and targeted sequencing of DNA regions of interest. The hallmarks of the 454 Sequencing system are its simple, unbiased sample preparation and long, highly accurate sequence reads, including paired-end reads. The technology of the 454 Sequencing system has enabled hundreds of peer-reviewed studies in diverse research fields, such as cancer and infectious disease research, drug discovery, marine biology, anthropology, paleontology and many more.

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