The team tried analysing the genome of one organism using only eight hundred picograms of DNA, over six hundred times less than the quantity used in standard practice. In this example, the PacBio only generated 70 reads, or fragments of sequence, from the genome. Although this is a fraction of the number of reads generated relative to standard library methods, it was still enough information for the team to identify the specific organism being sequenced; this work could allow the identification of organisms in metagenomic samples that were previously undetectable.
"To sequence microorganisms, one needs to be able to grow them in a lab first," says Dr Tamir Chandra, lead author from the Babraham Institute. "Not only is this time consuming, but sometimes micro-organisms do not grow, making it extremely difficult to sequence their genome.
"With this method we can directly sequence these organisms and find out their identity in a short space of time."
"Our role at the Sanger Institute is to determine how we can utilise and improve these sequencing platforms to generate biological information more efficiently and in turn, possibly, influence the control and treatment of disease and infections." says Dr Harold Swerdlow, lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "Our technique can be performed without any prior knowledge of the sequence and with no organism specific reagents, in a short space of time. This makes it a promising alternative for clinical situations such as infection control."
|Contact: Aileen Sheehy|
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute