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Overcoming One of the Major Technical Limitations for Epigenetics Research

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Epigenetic researchers can now address one of the key limitations to current studies; the amount of starting material that is required to perform DNA sequencing of whole genome bisulfite converted samples. By reducing the amount of required starting material by over a hundredfold, Swift Biosciences, Inc., is enabling researchers to redefine their project designs as they can now use hundreds of cells to completely characterize the entire methylome, a critical element of genomic function and stability.

Compared to other approaches, the Accel-NGS™ Methyl-Seq DNA Library Kit for Illumina® platforms utilizes Adaptase™ technology, a unique molecular biology method that works with single-stranded DNA. The Adaptase technology enables next generation sequencing (NGS) libraries to be made post-bisulfite treatment, allowing researchers to recover more of their input DNA and use a hundredfold less input material compared to other commercially available products. This new approach also avoids the high bias inherent in random primer-based methods as the underlying technology ligates adapters in a sequence independent manner. Introduction of the Accel-NGS Methyl-Seq Kit delivers researchers an alternative from choosing between a traditional post-library prep with low yields and a highly biased random primer method.

“The kit has an easy workflow and only takes 2-3 days to generate a batch of WGBS (whole-genome bisulfite sequencing) libraries, compared to two weeks by using more standard protocols,” stated Research Scientist Hongcang Gu, Ph.D. of The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “The sequencing data indicate the libraries constructed using this kit have more unique CpGs from genomic DNA inputs of 10 ng” as compared to other evaluated kits.

“We are excited to see that by enabling lower inputs, we are generating completely new applications for methylation-based sequencing,” said David Olson, Chief Executive Officer at Swift Biosciences. “We have completed projects using only 5 ng of input from circulating, cell-free DNA to detect hypomethylation in various cancer types. The launch of our Accel-NGS Methyl-Seq Kit is an enabling event for the entire methylation market by providing researchers the ability to use small numbers of cells to obtain insights on how methylation impacts genetic function.”

The development team at Swift worked closely with top epigenetics researchers across the globe to deliver a major improvement in methylation sequencing. Dr. A. Raine of Uppsala University stated “We obtained high quality data using the Accel-NGS Methyl-Seq DNA Library Kit. The alignment rates were excellent and PCR duplication rates were very low. Coverage of CpG sites was good, both in total and in CpG islands. We really appreciate the kit’s flexibility with respect to DNA input amounts.