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GATC Biotech Evaluates Complete Genomics' Human Genome Sequencing Service

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By Julia Karow

German sequencing service provider GATC Biotech said this week that it has signed up for a pilot project to evaluate Complete Genomics' human genome sequencing service.

Under the project, which is ongoing, Mountain View, Calif.-based Complete Genomics will sequence and assemble five human genomes from GATC Biotech customer samples for a disease-related pilot study and will call SNPs and indels in these genomes.

GATC, based in Constance, said it will perform additional bioinformatics analysis, such as comparisons between the genomes, and will "refine the data" in order to provide its customers with "relevant genomic details to advance their understanding of the genetic causes of disease."

One challenge for GATC will be translating the data provided by Complete Genomics, which come in a proprietary format, to its clients in a form that they can work with, CEO Peter Pohl told In Sequence. "This is not like an Illumina format or a 454 format," he said. "We have to learn and build up bioinformatics [expertise] on these data."

The project serves to evaluate Complete Genomics' technology and service so GATC can add it to its existing offerings for customers, along with in-house sequencing services. "As a service provider, we have to evaluate how we can work with data Complete Genomics is delivering," said Pohl. "It's a logical step for us to understand what the technology is for and which customers want to have this."

The company expects to obtain its first sequencing data from Complete Genomics early next year, he said.

Pohl declined to disclose financial details of the project, but Complete Genomics has said in the past that it charges $20,000 per human genome sequenced as part of five-genome pilot projects.

He said the pilot project will also help GATC meet an internal company goal, set in 2007, to sequence 100 human genomes by the end of 2010. Earlier this year, he said, the company sequenced five human genomes at low coverage in house for the German Cancer Research Center.

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