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ABI Ships First SOLiD Sequencer to Stanford to Kick Off Early-Access Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Applied Biosystems said today it has shipped its SOLiD next-generation sequencing technology to Stanford University  and other research institutions through an early-access program, and is developing new applications for the system through collaborations with other academic institutions.
The company did not say which other institutions have plans to buy the system, which uses oligonucleotide ligation and detection for high-throughput DNA analysis.
The SOLiD system differs from polymerase sequencing approaches in that it uses stepwise ligation, ABI said. The company said the technology has applications in whole-genome sequencing, medical sequencing, genotyping, gene expression, and small RNA discovery. 
ABI acquired the technology for the SOLiD system from Agencourt Personal Genomics last year. Since that time, the company said it has increased sample throughput five-fold, and has increased the base read length 66 percent.
ABI said it is developing new applications for the system through collaborations with Stanford, the Broad Institute, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, the Joint Genome Institute, the University of Queensland, and Washington University, "among others.”
The system offers 2-base encoding, which interrogates each base twice in order to reduce sequencing errors, and can generate more than a gigabase of useable data per run, ABI said.
Mark Stevenson, president for ABI’s molecular and cell biology division, said in a statement that the SOLiD system has "the best commercial viability among more than 40 next-generation sequencing technologies we evaluated," and that the company will continue its development collaborations to refine the system and develop new applications.
Arend Sidow, an associate professor at Stanford School of Medicine, has used the system to analyze 282 megabases of aligned sequence data, and used it to help create a high-resolution map of nucleosome positioning in Caenorhabditis elegans.
George Weinstock, a director at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, said in a statement that when he used the ABI system to resequence the genome of a strain of Escherichia coli for validation assembly it identified a large duplication that was missed in earlier Sanger sequencing runs.
Weinstock said the SOLiD system "will enable us to generate highly accurate sequence data for infectious disease pathogens and other microbes."

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