NRGene Are Taking Agricultural Research to the MAX
Blog Aug 08, 2019
NRGene recently announced the launch of DeNovoMAX, an enhanced version of their flagship product DeNovoMAGIC, for whole genome assembly. As part of the DeNovo assembly product suite, DeNovoMAX aims to take agricultural research further by empowering breeding and maximizing agricultural yield. Compared to its predecessor DeNovoMAGIC, DeNovoMAX maximizes efficiency by using a leaner library setup. It is designed to meet the needs of professional breeders and will be offered to the most popular homozygote species such as wheat, tobacco, tomato, pepper, cotton, corn, soybean, sunflower and more.
We spoke with Gal Ramot, Marketing Director at NRGene Ltd. to learn about the applications of DeNovoMAX and how it has been built to crack the most "complex of genomes".
Molly Campbell (MC): Can you tell us about the novel DeNovoMAX technology and how it was developed?
Gal Ramot (GR): NRGene has long been known for its ability to assemble various genomes at a very high standard. Its flagship product, DeNovoMAGIC, was cited over 15 times in the last two years in scientific literature (i.e. peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science) due to the high quality of results it generates. The DeNovoMAX, a leaner version of the legacy DeNovoMAGIC, was born as a result of a significant price reduction in the sequencing cost (Thanks to Illumina's NovaSeq machine) and NRGene's mature algorithms and experience in popular species.
DeNovoMAGIC relies on high coverage to provide a full-service genome assembly to all organisms at the highest standard of results (regardless of complexity), whereas DeNovoMAX maximizes efficiency by using a leaner library setup with minimal compromise in quality. DeNovoMax is designed to meet the applicative genomics needs of professional breeders and will be offered to the most popular species such as wheat, tobacco, tomato, pepper, cotton, corn, soybean, sunflower and more.
NRGene provides a new denovo product portfolio to empower breeders. DeNovoMAX is a lean version of the legacy DeNovoMAGIC platform, which has been cited many times in scientific literature due to the high quality of results it generates. The two assembly products complement one another. DeNovoMAGIC relies on high coverage to provide a full-service genome assembly to all organisms at the highest standard of results (regardless of complexity), whereas DeNovoMAX maximizes efficiency by using a leaner library setup with minimal compromise in quality. Video supplied by NRGene.
MC: What are the potential applications of DeNovoMAX?
GR: Genome assembly puts everything into context. The accuracy it allows, quickly translates into efficiency, so you can do things faster and more accurately. In the past, you would need a large consortium to sequence a new genome, with multiple partners sharing the high costs. However, with products like NRGene’s new DeNovoMAX, which is available at a much lower price point, we expect to be seeing more research facilities assembling their genomes.
For example, using DenovoMAGIC, NRGene managed to successfully assemble, at reference quality level, the 16 GB-sized genome of common wheat (also known as bread wheat) at less than half the cost of former wheat assembly projects. Another example is the latest assembly of durum wheat (used for pasta). In the durum project, and through genome sequencing, one of the discoveries made was that, there is a trait in some durum varieties that causes it to accumulate high levels of cadmium (toxic metal). By analyzing the germplasm, researchers were able to find a functional allele that eliminates this characteristic. This knowledge will help us bring better varieties to market.
With the new DeNovoMAX, scientists can conduct the same type of studies. In wheat specifically, researchers can enjoy a significant price reduction – you can assemble three genomes using DeNovoMAX at the previous cost of one assembly using DeNovoMAGIC. This allows for much more flexibility and also a bigger variety, eventually leading to more insights that translate into practical applications.
MC: How does DeNovoMAX differ from DeNovoMAGIC? Can they be used in complement with one another?
GR: As mentioned before, DeNovoMAGIC is the full solution that is able to crack the most complex of genomes. It is mainly aimed at very challenging genomes like strawberry, cannabis, and even eucalyptus trees - those genomes are heterozygote. Up until now, NRGene would assemble all genomes with DeNovoMAGIC, but thanks to the new DenovoMAX, there is a solution for the homozygote genomes at a much more affordable price now, for numerous species such as wheat, tomato, pepper, sunflower, soy, corn and many more.
MC: How is the technology cost-efficient?
GR: The price reduction translates to more than 50%, compared to the current DeNovoMAGIC price point.
MC: Do researchers face any challenges when using DeNovoMAX?
MC: Your press release states that DeNovoMAX can be used to have a "real-world impact". What do you envision this impact to be?
GR: With global population on the rise, we are facing a food security crisis in the future. Global demand for major grains, such as maize, rice, and wheat, is projected to increase by nearly 48 percent from 2000-2025 and by 70 percent between 2000 and 2050. In order to cope with rising demand, we need to learn how to grow our food more efficiently. When you unlock the genome, you essentially go down to the blueprint of the crop, and by drawing the right conclusions, you are able to significantly accelerate the traditional breeding process. We offer a premium standard of genome assembly and the more accurate the data, the better your prediction of your future yield.
Gal Ramot was speaking with Molly Campbell, Science Writer for Technology Networks.