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100K Pathogen Genome Project Selects PacBio SMRT(R) DNA Sequencing To Generate High-Quality, Finished Genomes

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (Nasdaq:PACB) provider of the PacBio ® RS High Resolution Genetic Analyzer, and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) today announced a partnership for the 100K Pathogen Genome Project. As part of the project, Pacific Biosciences' Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT ®) technology will be used to sequence the genomes from at least 1,000 foodborne pathogen samples to completion, and to elucidate their epigenomes. These bacteria represent major illness-causing pathogens, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Vibrio, and Listeria.

The 100K Genome Project was founded by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Agilent Technologies, and the laboratory of Dr. Bart Weimer at UC Davis to create a consortium of partners from around the world that will sequence 100,000 foodborne pathogens using next-generation sequencing. This initiative addresses a significant shortage of bacterial pathogen information for use in designing molecular diagnostics, creates a resource to expand our understanding of infection mechanisms, and constructs a public repository for new insights into bacterial evolution by using large-scale genomics.

Pacific Biosciences' SMRT sequencing technology generates sequence reads an order of magnitude longer than other leading DNA sequencing technologies, thereby facilitating efficient de novo microbial genome assemblies. Long reads are critical for resolving genetic complexity in the assembly and finishing of genomes. The use of SMRT sequencing for the automated finishing of microbial genomes has been demonstrated in multiple recent publications, including for the genetic analysis of the Haitian cholera and German E. coli outbreaks.

The kinetic information acquired during SMRT sequencing can be used to elucidate the epigenome of bacteria. Epigenetic DNA base modifications, such as methylation, play an important role in the phenotypic variation, adaptability and pathogenicity of many bacteria, but they have been difficult to study due to the lack of a sequencing method to detect them. As part of the 100K Genome Project, the epigenomes of the pathogenic strains subjected to SMRT sequencing will be characterized, adding an important dataset to public database repositories.

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