Product News: Beijing Institute of Genomics Expands Use of Life Technologies’ SOLiD System to Advance Research in China

02 Feb 2009

Life Technologies Corporation, a provider of innovative life science solutions, has announced through its Applied Biosystems unit, that the Beijing Institute of Genomics (BIG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has acquired eight additional SOLiD™ Systems for a variety of genomics studies. The SOLiD System is the company’s next-generation genomic analysis platform for DNA sequencing and RNA analysis applications.

BIG is a leading research institute, focused on meeting the increasing demands of China’s strategic scientific developments in the emerging field of life sciences. BIG is concentrating its research activities on genomics and bioinformatics, based on its powerful genomics technology platforms and its long-term goal to transform original raw genomics data to useful information and knowledge for life science research.

As part of this effort, BIG is expanding its fleet of SOLiD Systems to a total of nine, with plans to explore mutation profiling of cancer genes, investigations of genetic variation in model organisms, metagenomic analysis of microbes, and discovery and characterisation of novel microRNAs. Use of high-throughput genomic analysis technologies such as the SOLiD System, generate vast amounts of data, which scientists analyse to gain a better understanding of how somatic mutations contribute to disease, such as tumour proliferation.

“The Beijing Institute of Genomics plays an important role in producing and analysing complex genomic data. DNA re-sequencing is the cornerstone of our discoveries, and we invest in new technologies to develop a more comprehensive view of biological variation,” said Chung-I Wu Ph.D., Director of the Beijing Institute of Genomics. “By expanding our fleet of SOLiD Systems, we will benefit from the throughput, flexibility and sensitivity of these systems, which we expect will contribute greatly to major genomic initiatives, such as re-sequencing to identify pathogen genomics and genetics, cancer genetics, and to conduct individual research programs within the Institute.”

The researchers at BIG will benefit from the flexibility and multiplex capability of the SOLiD System to conduct a wide range of large-scale re-sequencing and RNA analysis projects. For example, they plan to use the SOLiD System, combined with the new SOLiD Small RNA Expression Analysis Kit, to investigate the role of coding and non-coding transcripts in an effort to develop RNA expression profiles in stem cells. Comprehensive RNA expression profiles of individual stem cells may reveal clues about molecular variation between genetically identical cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms that trigger pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into specific cell types, including cancer cells.

“The diversity of applications for which BIG researchers will employ the SOLiD System, demonstrates the tremendous flexibility of this platform,” said Kip Miller, President of the Genetic Systems Division at Life Technologies. “The combination of application flexibility, unrivalled throughput, accuracy, and low sequencing cost, continue to establish the SOLiD System as a platform of choice for life scientists around the world looking to advance their genomics research.”

The SOLiD System is the life science industry’s highest throughput genomic analysis platform. The system continues to rapidly evolve, with the latest version of the platform – SOLiD 3 System – setting new standards with significantly higher sample throughput. The new system, which is to be launched in early 2009, will yield more than 20 gigabases of mappable sequence data, or 400 million tags per run. This vast improvement in data output per run is expected to further decrease the cost of genomic sequencing for multiple applications, including DNA, RNA and epigenetic analysis. By providing the life science community with access to high quality genomic data at a lower cost per sample, researchers will be able to accelerate disease association and biomarker discovery studies to improve diagnostics and disease management.

The SOLiD System was selected as the Life Science Innovation of the Year for 2008 by The Scientist, a leading scientific publication focused on the life science industry. The SOLiD System received the top award based upon its ability to significantly reduce the cost of DNA sequencing, which will enable basic and clinical researchers who may not have previously considered genomic approaches to re-evaluate their experimental workflow.