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Baylor College of Medicine increases fleet of Roche Genome Sequencer FLX Systems to 10 instruments

INDIANAPOLISThe Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine boosted its sequencing capabilities with an agreement to acquire seven additional Genome Sequencer FLX Systems from 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company.

With 10 Genome Sequencer FLX Systems, the Human Genome Sequencing Center will be in a unique position to apply 454 Life Sciences technologies to problems ranging from the deciphering of new genomes to the analysis of mutations associated with human diseases.

These instruments previously proved their capabilities in the arena of whole genome sequencing, said Richard Gibbs, Professor and Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine, a former member of the 454 Life Sciences Scientific Advisory Board until March 2007. Now they have demonstrated their potential role in large scale mutation detection.

To better understand genetic basis for disease - including cancer, heart disease, and asthma - genomic information from large numbers of individuals need to be analyzed in a rapid and cost-effective manner. Rapid DNA sequencing technologies allow researchers to identify all genetic changes when comparing healthy individuals to those with disease.

This purchase helps demonstrate that the GS FLX is a proven technology with nearly 100 published peer-review articles, said Lonnie Shoff, Senior Vice President of Molecular Diagnostics and Applied Science for Roche Diagnostics. We see the GS FLX being used in production sequencing due to the systems scalability to support both small and very large projects, along with the instruments durability, which allows it to be run continuously.

These efforts using the Genome Sequencer FLX are further enhanced by a collaboration with the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine and another Roche company, Roche NimbleGen. Preliminary work from the collaboration was reported in Nature Methods this week, and uses microarrays to capture up to 6,500 human gene parts, or exons, for sequence analysis, reducing the dependence on large-scale polymerase chain reaction.

With this combination of 454 and NimbleGen methods, we have an unprecedented ability to detect changes across the human genome, said Gibbs.

The new Genome Sequencer FLX systems will also be applied to the analysis of bacterial genomes in a National Institutes of Health supported effort to analyze metagenomes collections of bacteria that live in human hosts both normally and in infectious disease.

The GS FLX system has been remarkably successfulnot only for human medical resequencingbut also for microbial genome sequencing. Expanding our sequencing capabilities with the additional systems figures prominently in our plans for the Human Microbiome Project, said George Weinstock, co-Director and leader of its Microbial Genomics Programs for the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

In addition to the purchase agreement, the Human Genome Sequencing Center and Roche also expanded their prior collaboration. The center will obtain early access to next generation updates to the Genome Sequencer FLX system. The system improvements will include an increase in sequence read length beyond 400 base pairs. The net result will be a sequencing solution that generates more than 1 billion bases per day. Other updates focus on improvements that make it easier to routinely sequence human genomes. These system improvements include enhancements in the reagents and software, utilizing the same hardware configuration that is currently available and purchased as part of this agreement.


Contact: Lori McLaughlin

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