Seattle-based Phase Genomics has announced the general availability of Proximo™, a new service providing complete end-to-end genome assemblies to researchers around the globe. Long considered a “holy grail” in biological research, access to complete genomes eliminates a major obstacle in answering a wide range of scientific questions. The announcement was made today at the Plant & Animal Genome Conference (PAGXXV) in San Diego.
“After receiving very positive responses from our initial customer engagements, we are thrilled to bring this solution to the broader market.” said Dr. Ivan Liachko, CEO and Co-founder of Phase Genomics. “We believe Proximo represents a fundamental advancement in genome assembly technology that will help researchers in a variety of fields.”
Creating a complete or “chromosome-scale” reference genome for an organism is akin to completing the genetic blueprint for that species. Previously, most genome sequencing and assembly technologies left genomes in many pieces, obscuring significant information about the biology of an organism. Making a complete genome requires grouping and arranging hundreds or thousands of DNA sequences properly, a highly laborious, expensive, nearly impossible task with traditional tools. In practice, these assembly methods leave most genome assemblies highly fragmented, much like unfinished jigsaw puzzles.
To overcome this obstacle, Phase Genomics developed a new approach to measure the distances between DNA sequences using a modified version of the popular chromosome conformation capture method, Hi-C. These measurements allow the company’s software to organize DNA sequence fragments into whole chromosomes.
“We had tried all of these other genome assembly technologies,” said Prof. Mitch McGrath of Michigan State University, who studies sugar beets and agricultural productivity. “Then Phase Genomics used Proximo at the final step to make 9 complete scaffolds for 9 sugar beet chromosomes – exactly where I wanted to be. I almost fell off my chair when I saw it. It’s very exciting.”
Interested parties can learn more about Proximo and other Phase Genomics services by visiting their booth at the Plant & Animal Genome Conferece (PAGXXV) or by visiting the Phase Genomics website.