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Clontech Laboratories, Inc. Releases the SMARTer™ Ultra Low RNA Kit for Illumina® Sequencing

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Clontech Laboratories, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takara Bio Inc., today announced the launch of its SMARTer Ultra Low RNA Kit for Illumina Sequencing, which was developed in collaboration with Illumina, Inc. This kit uses a modified version of Clontech's patented SMART™ (Switching Mechanism at 5' End of RNA Template) technology to facilitate transcriptome analysis from as little as 100 pg of input RNA.

Carol Lou, General Manager of Clontech Laboratories, Inc., comments: "Transcriptomics is rapidly becoming a key tool for biomedical researchers, but to date its use has been limited by sample size requirements. As the developer of SMART technology, the leading technology for full-length cDNA library construction from small samples, Clontech is excited to work with Illumina, the leader in the field of next-generation sequencing, to develop a kit which enables researchers to obtain transcriptome information from ultra-low RNA inputs."

Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) has revolutionized gene expression profiling, enabling researchers to characterize a cell's entire transcriptional activity at the nucleotide level. This ability to analyze all expressed genes both qualitatively and quantitatively, without assumptions (no a priori requirements for probe design), is leading to many significant advances in the field of biomedical research, including new findings in the fields of development, cancer research, plant biology, and neurobiology.

James Knowles, Professor of Psychiatry at the USC Keck School of Medicine, was an early access tester of the kit and states that "We have found the SMARTer Ultra Low RNA protocol and kit to be scientifically enabling, allowing us to ask questions about the nature of gene expression in individual cells that was not previously possible.  The ability to assay the expression of individual neurons from brain slices, which we have done, allows one to correlate changes in the electrophysiology of each cell to changes in gene expression."

The SMARTer Ultra Low RNA Kit for Illumina Sequencing has been designed and validated to prepare cDNA samples for sequencing on all of Illumina's sequencing instruments, including HiSeq™ 2000. This kit greatly reduces handling of the RNA sample, thereby minimizing the risk of sample loss and preserving the original message. The efficient incorporation of known sequences at both ends of the cDNA during first strand synthesis enables researchers to perform the entire protocol in a single tube, without a separate adaptor ligation step. Moreover, SMART's high efficiency and sensitivity permits the use of very limited quantities of starting material—as little as 100 pg of total RNA—from a variety of sources. The combination of SMART technology's ability to handle very small quantities of RNA with Illumina's unique combination of long and short reads, single and paired-end sequencing, and capacity for tens of millions to billions of reads per run allows you to annotate coding SNPs, discover transcript isoforms, characterize splice junctions, and determine the relative abundance of transcripts from even the smallest samples.

About Clontech Laboratories, Inc.

Clontech Laboratories, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takara Bio Inc., develops, manufactures, and distributes a wide range of life science research reagents under the Clontech and Takara brands. Key products include high-performance qPCR and PCR reagents (including the Ex Taq™, LA Taq™, Titanium®, and Advantage® enzymes); RT enzymes and SMART and SMARTer library construction kits; the innovative In-Fusion® cloning system; Tet-based inducible gene expression systems; and a range of Macherey-Nagel nucleic acid purification tools. These and other products support applications including gene discovery, regulation, and function; protein expression and purification; RNAi and stem cell studies; and plant and food research. For more information, please visit

About Takara Bio Inc.

Takara Bio Inc. is an innovative biotechnology company based in Shiga, Japan. As a world leader in biotechnology research and development, Takara Bio was the first company to market PCR technology in Japan and is also the developer of the RetroNectin® reagent, which is a world-standard in gene therapy protocols. In addition to providing research reagents and equipment to the life science research market, Takara Bio has active research and product development activities in the fields of gene and cell-based therapy, and agricultural biotechnology; and is committed to preventing disease and improving the quality of life for all people through the use of biotechnology. Through strategic alliances with other industry leaders, the Company aims to extend its reach around the world. More information is available at

SOURCE Clontech Laboratories, Inc.
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