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German Labs Partner to Investigate 454 FLX, GS Junior for Diagnostic Sequencing

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This article was originally published on August 19.

Roche said last week that two Martinsried, Germany-based sister companies — IMGM Laboratories GmbH and the Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Medicine — will work together to use the 454 GS FLX and GS Junior sequencing systems for targeted resequencing applications in the field of human genetics.

In particular, the labs plan to investigate the use of the technology for diagnostic applications.

“We strongly believe that diagnostic sequencing will rapidly adopt the high-throughput technologies used now for genomic research," said Hanns-Georg Klein, CEO of both IMGM and the Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Medicine, in a statement.

He added that he expects the technology to be useful for diagnosing "clinically heterogeneous" diseases, such as cardiovascular, connective tissue, or neuropsychiatric disorders involving between 20 and 100 different genes.

In addition, he noted that sequencing could be useful for analyzing multiple genetic risk factors, which "could be more efficiently integrated into prevention programs by the elaboration of reliable genetic criteria for high-risk individuals."

Klein said that the long reads and quick run times of the 454 platform are "both essential factors for diagnostic sequencing," but cautioned that the technology "will have to be thoroughly validated to demonstrate an error-free performance” before it can be implemented into a routine diagnostics workflow.

The Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Medicine was founded in 1998 as a spin-off from the Institute of Clinical Chemistry at the University Hospital Grosshadern of the Ludwig-Maximilians University. The lab specializes in genetic and immunological diagnostics with a focus on diagnostic sequencing.

IMGM, the lab's sister company, provides a range of genomic services, including microarray and qPCR analysis and bioinformatics.

Ralph Oehlmann, director of business development at IMGM, said that the partners plan to use the 454 systems for "general sequencing services," but noted that the "main focus" of the collaboration will be to offer assay development and validation services for the GS FLX and GS Junior platforms.

In particular, Oehlmann said that IMGM plans to offer amplicon-based targeted resequencing using Fluidigm's Access Arrays for target amplification and library preparation.

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