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Expression Analysis and Golden Helix Overcome Barriers to RNA-Seq Adoption


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Golden Helix, Inc. and Expression Analysis (EA) have announced their collaboration to develop an affordable and streamlined, cloud-based analytic solution that reduces the barriers to adoption of RNA sequencing.

RNA-Seq is becoming the tool of choice for gene expression studies, as it can facilitate the investigation of phenomena beyond the reach of traditional microarrays, such as novel transcripts and isoforms, alternative splice sites, and allele-specific expression. Additionally, it provides greater coverage and higher quality genetic data than microarrays.

Next generation sequencing provides unprecedented detail of biological data at a sequence level, but in many ways the greater insights it can provide haven’t been realized to date.

“The primary reasons RNA-Seq hasn’t been broadly adopted,” stated Wendell Jones, EA's Vice President of Statistics and Bioinformatics, “is the historically higher cost, which has come down significantly, but also the order of magnitude higher complexity in terms of bioinformatics, data storage, and processing that comes with the newer technology. In many ways, RNA-Seq has not been accessible to the broader community of researchers who are comfortable with the infrastructure they’ve used for many years in working with microarrays. Our collaboration with Golden Helix changes this.”

Golden Helix and Expression Analysis have built an analysis solution in which bioinformatic processes will be performed in a service-based cloud compute environment. This offering will address the obstacles of sequence data by providing cloud-based and integrated desktop analysis tools that are scalable, affordable, and simplified.

RNA-Seq services provided by EA/Golden Helix have the sequence reads and alignment results (primary and secondary analyses, respectively) delivered through the cloud where they are stored and managed with an easy-to-use interface.

When users are ready to “make sense” of this data (tertiary analysis), Golden Helix will provide differential expression workflows optimized for RNA-Seq data in its SNP & Variation Suite (SVS) alongside additional workflows for DNA variant analysis and genetic association testing.

"EA and Golden Helix have very complementary capabilities," says Christophe Lambert, President and CEO of Golden Helix. "EA delivers world-class process excellence in high throughput sequencing and secondary analysis automation, and we bring cloud-competence and stellar tertiary analysis software, services and support. Together we’ve created an end-to-end solution for our shared customers: from assay to analytics to application."

Golden Helix will also provide EA customers with a complimentary, desktop-based genome browser designed to supplement the analytic workflows offered in the cloud.

"We want to make genome browsing a more personal and interactive experience," says Gabe Rudy, Golden Helix’s Vice President of Product Development. "When it comes to RNA-Seq data, the genome browser will provide navigational context for the data, but in a very intuitive, user-friendly format."

"With this collaboration, we are combining the power of our industry-leading RNA sequencing technology and bioinformatics pipelines for primary and secondary data analysis with Golden Helix's world-class capabilities in genome browsing and tertiary analysis," says Steve McPhail, CEO of EA. “Together, we are very excited to bring RNA-Seq to the broader community.”

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