Novel DNA sequencer for MDC's systems biology

Jul 15, 2011

The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany, will be the first academic research institution in Continental Europe to acquire a novel DNA sequencer enabling the sequencing of single DNA molecules in real time. The SMRT (single molecule, real-time) technology is also faster than current high-throughput technologies. The researchers of the BIMSB will use this third-generation sequencing technology, which was launched on the market in April 2011 by Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, California, USA, to gain deeper insight into gene regulation. The new sequencer, PacBio RS, will be installed in the BIMSB labs early in September.

To develop the "single molecule real-time" (SMRT) technology, Pacific Biosciences has combined nanotechnology, biochemistry, surface chemistry and optics. The new sequencer determines sequences in real time by visualizing the reaction of a single enzyme with a single DNA molecule. The process does not require DNA amplification before the sequencing reaction and therefore avoids potential bias. The system is able to produce average DNA reads of greater than 1000 bases and accomplishes one experiment in one day instead of one week or longer. The PacBio RS perfectly complements the current scientific applications and capacities of next-generation sequencing technologies of the BIMSB Scientific Genomics Platform led by Wei Chen.

"The outstanding characteristic of SMRT technology is not only that you can watch how DNA is being synthesized, but also that it enables us to quantitatively determine , RNA function, epigenetic gene regulation, DNA modification and genome structure. It allows us to look deeper into how genes and regulatory networks function and opens new approaches to personalized medicine," said Walter Rosenthal, scientific director of the MDC, and Nikolaus Rajewsky, head of the Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the MDC.

The BIMSB was launched by the MDC in 2008, supported by start-up funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Senate of Berlin. Medical focuses on molecular networks of genes and proteins, their regulation and interaction with each other and their relevance in disease processes. BIMSB works closely with research institutions and networks in Berlin and beyond, in particular with Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and also with New York University, USA.

Explore further: Fighting bacteria—with viruses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Human cells can copy not only DNA, but also RNA

Aug 10, 2010

Single-molecule sequencing technology has detected and quantified novel small RNAs in human cells that represent entirely new classes of the gene-translating molecules, confirming a long-held but unproven hypothesis that ...

Real-time observation of the DNA-repair mechanism

May 22, 2008

For the first time, researchers at Delft University of Technology have witnessed the spontaneous repair of damage to DNA molecules in real time. They observed this at the level of a single DNA molecule. Insight into this ...

Recommended for you

Fighting bacteria—with viruses

Jul 24, 2014

Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its re ...

Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed

Jul 24, 2014

Actin is the most abundant protein in the body, and when you look more closely at its fundamental role in life, it's easy to see why. It is the basis of most movement in the body, and all cells and components ...

Brand new technology detects probiotic organisms in food

Jul 23, 2014

In the food industr, ity is very important to ensure the quality and safety of products consumed by the population to improve their properties and reduce foodborne illness. Therefore, a team of Mexican researchers ...

Protein evolution follows a modular principle

Jul 23, 2014

Proteins impart shape and stability to cells, drive metabolic processes and transmit signals. To perform these manifold tasks, they fold into complex three-dimensional shapes. Scientists at the Max Planck ...

Report on viruses looks beyond disease

Jul 22, 2014

In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses can perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in today, according to a new report by the American ...

User comments : 0