29 April 2014

Two human genomes per hour

New technology to boost genome studies

The Sequencing Centre at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

The Sequencing Centre at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. [Genome Research Limited]

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The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute today announced it is to deploy the recently launched Illumina HiSeq X Ten DNA sequencing platform to augment its sequencing capacity and to support its work to uncover the role of genetic variation in disease.

The Sanger Institute is Europe's largest DNA sequencing centre and is currently capable of delivering a high-quality human genome every 90 minutes. The Institute's aim is to use its strength in DNA sequencing to deliver new insights that help to understand human biology and disease, and to support the work of others in community projects such as the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

"Our mission is to improve human health though genomic discovery," says Professor Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "To achieve our ambition, we need to deploy the latest technology to best serve our needs. This acquisition will boost our capacity to explore human genomes and so accelerate our research."

" The ability to sequence large numbers of whole human genomes to high accuracy opens up new opportunities to understand how genetic variation affects human health and disease. "

Dr Richard Durbin

The HiSeq X Ten, announced earlier this year, is purpose-built for population-scale human whole genome sequencing, and can sequence up to 18,000 samples annually with high-quality, high-coverage sequencing. In 2013, the Sanger Institute delivered the equivalent of 4000 human genomes from its current mix of sequencing platforms.

"In the Institute we use many different modes of genome analysis," says Dr Richard Durbin, Head of Computational Genomics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "We use DNA sequencing and other technologies to study sets of human genes, or bacteria or viruses. But the ability to sequence large numbers of whole human genomes to high accuracy opens up new opportunities to understand how genetic variation affects human health and disease. We are excited by the potential of these new instruments."

The Institute houses more than 40 sequencing platforms from a range of providers. The HiSeq X Ten consists of ten sequencing systems, each of which can deliver 600 billion letters of genetic code per day. One human genome is 3 billion letters: to ensure accuracy in sequencing, each genome is analysed perhaps 30 times over.

Notes to Editors

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.

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The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.

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