Twist Bioscience Shines Among the Stars at AGBT18 With NGS Target Enrichment Solutions
Considered the preeminent genome science and technology conference, Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) attracts outstanding global researchers, leaders and innovators each year to present new discoveries, demonstrate cutting-edge breakthroughs and to collaborate.
This year’s conference, from Feb.12 to Feb.15 in Orlando, Fla., was no different. With more than 50 sponsors and scores of speakers presenting advances in genomics, the conference lived up to its reputation as a top forum for exchanging information about the latest advances in DNA sequencing technologies, experimental and analytical approaches for genomic studies, and their myriad applications.
Judging by the level of activity this year, the scale of genomics projects continues to grow at an astounding rate. Twist Bioscience, as a Gold Sponsor, played a prominent role, with CEO Emily Leproust, PhD, announcing the new Twist Human Core Exome Kit to a packed conference hall.
After an interview with Leproust, Keith Robison described the kit in his influential Omics! Omics! blog. He noted that targeted sequencing, particularly exome sequencing, was once thought of as a short-lived transitional technology until whole genome sequencing costs came down.
“We now have $1K human genomes, but exomes remain a popular option for obtaining data on more samples at a lower cost than possible with whole genome sequencing,” Robison wrote.
“Twist sees opportunity in this market by providing a product delivering greater coverage uniformity, enabling exomes to be acquired with much less overall sequencing,” he added.
Several early adopters of the Twist Bioscience kit also presented at the conference:
Michael Wiley, Ph.D., Microbiologist with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Center for Genome Sciences, demonstrated data using Twist Bioscience double-stranded DNA capture probes to enhance viral whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in a talk titled, ‘Using TruSeq RNA Exome with Twist Bioscience Probes to Enhance Viral Whole-Genome Sequencing.’
“Worldwide, labs supported by USAMRIID for pan viral sequencing use Twist’s capture probes for rapid detection and tracking of viral outbreaks, such as Zika and Ebola,” Dr. Wiley said during his presentation.”
Foundation Medicine’s Christine Malboeuf, Ph.D., the Director of Platform Development, exhibited data on the use of multiple DNA capture tools compared to the Twist Bioscience solution in a talk titled, 'Comparison of Capture Methods for FFPE RNA-Sequencing.’
“Foundation Medicine is transforming cancer diagnostics and treatment through FDA-approved tumor DNA and RNA sequencing,” Dr. Malboeuf told her audience.
HudsonAlpha’s Shawn Levy, Ph.D., Faculty Investigator and the founding Director of the Genomic Services Laboratory (GSL) , showed the value of deep exome sequencing in specialized tissue samples in a presentation titled, ‘High-depth Exome Sequencing in FFPE Samples.’
“Quite frankly, we were surprised at how complex the library was, with real efficient capture in FFPE samples, comparable to germline DNA, with no protocol modification,” Dr. Levy said.
IntegraGen SA’s Emmanuel Martin, Director of Genomics Services, focused on the benefit of an end-to-end robust next-generation sequencing workflow for maximum efficiency. Martin’s talk was titled, ‘From exome capture to data analysis: integrating workflow to get the highest insights and value from your research.’
“Better results with less data with the Twist exome will mean people will delay moving to whole genome sequencing,” Martin said.
Some other exciting announcements at AGBT included:
- Optical mapping company BioNano Genomics unveiled a new way for labeling genomic DNA inputs which substantially improves performance.
BioNano's aim is to use optical mapping to see structural variants and improve genome assemblies.
- NanoString Technologies announced updates on two major pipeline programs - its Digital Spatial Profiling technology and its library-free Hyb & Seq™ sequencing chemistry that leverage NanoString’s optical barcoding technology to open new market opportunities in biologic research and diagnostics.
- Dovetail Genomics introduced Dovetail Hi-C and Fix-C with Selva™ SV Detection Software as a Service, designed to enable new areas of human disease research. The company is leveraging its proximity ligation technology to help researchers to better understand human disease through the 3D structure of the genome.
Overall, the excitement, innovation, and collaboration at AGBT pushed genomics ahead. From the speakers presentations and the information-sharing workshops to the collegial receptions that followed, attendees experienced a remarkable week.