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Versatility of 454 Sequencing(TM) Demonstrated in Three Publications in Science Last Week
Date:10/2/2007

and care for their siblings is a defining feature of eusociality and a major challenge for evolutionary theory. In the study, "Wasp Brain Gene Expression Supports an Evolutionary Link between Maternal Behavior and Eusociality," researchers used 454 Sequencing to examine messenger RNA from the brains of wasps and correlate different expression patterns to different social behaviors. Insulin-related genes were among those genes showing a distinct pattern, suggesting that the evolution of eusociality involved major nutritional and reproductive pathways.

The study entitled "Whole-Genome Shotgun Sequencing of Mitochondria from Ancient Hair Shafts" combines a novel approach of preparing ancient DNA with 454 Sequencing to quickly and affordably sequencing the complete mitochondria from 10 individual mammoths. To put this new study in perspective, only seven mitochondrial genomes from extinct animals had been previously published, four from ancient birds, two mammoths and one of the mastodon, a distant relative of mammoths. The method for obtaining ancient DNA, as described in today's paper, uses hair shafts and not live cells. Hair from many extinct species is available in museum collections around the world. The new protocol, along with 454 Sequencing, opens the door to sequence many ancient species.

"Three diverse publications appearing in Science the same week and utilizing 454 Sequencing is a testament to the system's flexibility and applicability to life science research," explained Michael Egholm, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at 454 Life Sciences. "Researchers were able to sequence ancient and degraded DNA, obtain a paired-end map of structural variation throughput the human genome at unprecedented resolution, and analyze the role of gene expression in the evolution of eusociality. All of this in one week in Science is very inspirational."

454 Life Sciences develops and commercializes the innovative Genome Sequencer(TM) system f
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