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Knome Adds CLIA-Certified SeqWright as Sequencing Provider for Personal Genome Services

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This article has been updated from an earlier version, published June 11, to include information from SeqWright.

Knome will start using SeqWright's CLIA-certified laboratory for its personal genome sequencing and analysis services, the companies said last week.

Under the partnership, Houston-based SeqWright will process and sequence DNA samples from Knome clients at its CLIA-certified lab using its Applied Biosystems SOLiD and 454 Life Sciences GS FLX platforms.

SeqWright CEO Fei Lu told In Sequence this week that the company will sequence whole genomes using mate-pair reads on the SOLiD 3 platform and exomes using a combination of Roche NimbleGen capture arrays and 454 sequencing. The depth of coverage will be specified by Knome, she said. SeqWright will also conduct the primary data analysis, using software provided by the instrument vendors and methods developed in house.

Internally, the company has sequenced the genome of an unidentified individual on several versions of the SOLiD platform as a proof of concept, she added.

In a company statement, SeqWright said it is licensed to process clinical samples throughout "the majority of the United States." In March, the company said it obtained a California clinical laboratory license, enabling it to provide genetic tests to California residents.

Knome will continue to provide data analysis and interpretation for its customers. The company currently offers two types of analyses: KnomeComplete, which involves sequencing the entire genome and costs $99,500, and KnomeSelect, which is restricted to the exons and costs $24,500.

Up until now, Knome's sole sequencing provider has been the Beijing Genomics Institute, using Illumina's Genome Analyzer platform. Knome CEO Jorge Conde told In Sequence last week, prior to the announcement of its partnership with SeqWright, that BGI will remain its partner but that Knome is "technology agnostic" with regard to the sequencing platform it uses.

It was unclear as of press time whether customers will be able to choose which provider will sequence their genome, or whether the price of KnomeComplete and KnomeSelect will differ depending on which lab performs the analysis. Knome officials were unavailable for comment on the partnership with SeqWright.

Lasta week, Illumina said that Knome, along with three other providers, will also offer analysis services for its own newly launched personal genome sequencing service, which uses its CLIA-certified lab (see In Sequence 6/10/2009).

Knome and SeqWright were not immediately available for further comment on their collaboration.

One reason Knome might have sought a partnership with a CLIA-certified and California-licensed laboratory is to be able to provide services to individuals in certain US states.

A year ago, several consumer genomics firms received letters from California and New York health authorities, warning them that genetic tests need to be ordered by a doctor in those states and that testing labs need to be licensed by the state health department or obtain a permit.

Conde said in a statement last week that "the US regulatory landscape is evolving rapidly" and that "the ability to offer our services in partnership with a CLIA-certified laboratory represents another step forward in the industry."

SeqWright has been offering its own personal genomic profiling service since early 2008 for $998. The service uses Affymetrix' genome-wide human SNP array 6.0 to genotype customers' DNA and includes analyses for "selected diseases," ancestral origin, and genetic traits shared by family members. That service will be unaffected by the partnership with Knome, Lu said.

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