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PacBio's 2015 Technology Roadmap Includes Greater Output, Longer Reads, Better Data Analysis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Pacific Biosciences plans to increase the output of its sequencer about fourfold this year, further increase read length, and improve sample prep protocols and data analysis for several applications.

According to a post on the company's blog by CSO Jonas Korlach this week, PacBio plans to grow the data output of its PacBio RS II to more than 4 gigabases per SMRT cell run this year, with average read lengths increasing to 15 to 20 kilobases.

For comparison, the company's P6-C4 chemistry and software release last fall increased the output to 0.5 to 1 gigabase per SMRT cell and the average read length to 10 to 15 kilobases.

PacBio plans to achieve the improvements through better sequencing chemistry, protocol workflows, and software. These will include the active loading of single polymerase enzymes onto the chip, which increases the loading efficiency.

In addition, the firm plans to improve and streamline sample prep protocols, introduce barcodes for multiplexing samples on a SMRT cell, and release protocols for better yields of very long insert libraries and full-length cDNA libraries.

On the data analysis side, PacBio plans to collaborate with the bioinformatics community to generate faster algorithms for de novo genome assemblies, further develop the Falcon assembler and other solutions for resolving diploid or polyploidy genomes, and streamline analysis workflows for applications such as full-length transcript isoform sequencing or Iso-Seq and full-length HLA analysis.

At the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference next month, the company plans to present applications of its technology for human genomics.