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Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam Adopts Automated Target Enrichment Solution from Roche NimbleGen and Caliper Life Sciences for 3,000 Sample Exome Study

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The Genetic Laboratory of the Department of Internal Medicine at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam has adopted the combined automated target enrichment solution from Roche and Caliper Life Sciences.

This optimized solution is being used in a new phase of a large human epidemiological cohort, the Rotterdam Study, for automating the capture of >3,000 samples for next-generation sequencing.

The Rotterdam Study is a large prospective, single-center, population-based cohort study in a suburb of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and includes 15,000 participants of 45 years or more who have been followed since 1990.

The aim of the study is to characterize and analyze age-related disorders and their risk factors.
The study is coordinated by the department of Epidemiology of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. To date, the Rotterdam Study has resulted in >1,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications and >100 PhD theses.

A major focus of the Rotterdam Study has been the identification of genetic risk factors for age-related disorders such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease, and type 2 diabetes.

To accommodate the vast amounts of data, a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) database was established in 2007 by the Genetic Laboratory at the Department of Internal Medicine.

By using Roche’s exome capture product, NimbleGen SeqCap EZ Exome Library, combined with Caliper Life Sciences Sciclone NGS Workstation, the Erasmus MC team will now look to discover more data with an automated exome sequencing sample preparation solution.

In implementing this optimized automated solution using multiplex protocols for capture and sequencing, they are anticipating to complete this phase of the project shortly in processing and sequencing 3,000 samples in the next 3-4 months.

“The automated Roche capture platform was in our case the most optimal solution to analyze these thousands of DNA samples,” stated Prof Uitterlinden, Head of the Genetic Lab. “It will bring the large database we have been creating over the years of the Rotterdam Study to a new and deeper level of genetic resolution, hopefully leading to further exciting discoveries in the field of complex genetics.”

This exome sequencing study is being done in collaboration with the other members of the CHARGE consortium who are involved in a similar study in their respective cohorts.

The study takes place within the framework of the NGI-sponsored Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Ageing (NCHA; www.healthy_ageing.nl). In autumn 2011 the first data are expected to be available for analysis.

“We’re extremely excited to see our technologies selected for use in the Rotterdam Study,” said Frank Pitzer, CEO of Roche NimbleGen. “This sample cohort has been used to significantly advance our knowledge of age-related disorders and we are honored to have our technology adopted for use in such a comprehensive and well-organized study.”