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Illumina, NRGene Team Up to Co-Market Genome Assembly Technology

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Israeli ag-bio firm NRGene has signed a deal with Illumina to co-market its proprietary de novo assembly informatics technology DeNovoMAGIC with Illumina's sequencers, the company announced today.

Illumina's sequencing technology is the fastest and most practical way to assemble complex genomes such as those of most crop and livestock species, NRGene said in a statement. In fact, the company has assembled various lines of wheat, maize, soy, forestry and fruit trees, and fish, among other organisms, the statement added.

"Combining our technologies provides a remarkably dynamic solution for our customers in support of their research to develop healthier and more productive crops," said NRGene CEO Gil Ronen. "We're very happy to take our work with Illumina to the next level. The combination of our technologies will truly accelerate research aimed at food security."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) also announced today that researchers have produced a whole genome assembly of a bread wheat variety called Chinese Spring based on Illumina short sequence reads assembled with the DeNovoMAGIC software.

The project involved investigators from Germany, Canada, the US, and included researchers from Illumina and NRGene.

Project co-leader Nils Stein of IPK Gatersleben said in a statement that the new data will help researchers put together a high-quality reference sequence of bread wheat. The data will be combined with physical map-based sequence data to produce a sequence for each wheat chromosome, complete with precisely located genes, regulatory elements, and other biomarkers.

"The preliminary results obtained by NRGene are impressive," IWGSC Executive Director Kellye Eversole said in a statement. "We have been waiting for a number of years to have a high-quality whole-genome sequence assembly that would complement our chromosome-based strategy and accelerate the delivery of the sequence. Thus, this assembly comes exactly at the right time because it can be integrated with the IWGSC chromosome-specific resources developed over the past 10 years to deliver a high-quality reference sequence for the wheat genome in less than two years."

Another of the project's leaders, Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre in Canada, added that the new sequence can help wheat researchers understand which genes influence the crop's adaptation, stress response, pest resistance, and yield.

The researchers will present their results at the Plant & Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, from Jan. 9 to Jan. 13.