New Hybrid Genome Assembly Technology is Expected to Change the Dynamics of Gene Sequencing Market

A team led by Professor Ya-Ping Zhang and Professor Zhanshan (Sam) Ma from the Kunming Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a novel hybrid genome assembly technique for the latest third-generation DNA sequencing technologies (3GS). The novel technique can significantly lower the required sequencing coverage for the third-generation sequencing technology and also has the potential to notably reduce 3GS sequencing costs. The new hybrid assembly technology is based on two 3GS assembly software packages (SPARC and DBG2OLC) previously developed by Dr. Chengxi Ye and Professor Sam Ma. In terms of hardware (DNA sequencers) platforms, the technology takes advantages of 10x-Genomics technology that integrates a novel bar-coding strategy with Illumina next-generation sequencing, with the benefit of revealing long-range sequence information, and hence it is particularly suitable for augmenting the assembly of long erroneous 3GS reads. The new hybrid assembly technology also lowered the 3GS sequencing coverage required for assembling a human genome from 35X to 7X in Oxford Nanopore platform which is considered as the fourth-generation sequencing. The significantly lowered coverage can be potentially translated into approximately 70% reduction in cost based on current market pricing of various sequencing technologies. The development of this technique is likely to boost the competitiveness of the current third-generation technologies in their competitions with currently prevalent NGS technologies, open new applications for 10x-Genomics technology, and is expected to shape the existing gene sequencing market.

DNA sequencing technology is one of the indispensable technologies for modern life science and biotechnology. The newest sequencing platform of Oxford Nanopore works by reading the nucleotide sequences at the single molecule level and generates ultra-long reads up to 1Mb, which makes it possible to eliminate gaps and effectively resolve repeats in genome assembly. The advantage of long reads possesses serious implications in the arena of genome science. However, the 3GS technologies faces the challenge of high base-level error rates and sequencing costs and in the newly developed technology, genome assembly software comes to the rescue.

– Arpitha Shetty,
Research Analyst,
Infoholic Research