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Sanger Institute Purchases OpGen System to Help with Genome Assembly

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This story was originally published Jan. 10.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has purchased OpGen's Argus Optical Mapping system "in order to reduce the time and cost of whole-genome sequence assembly," OpGen said last week.

Starting this month, Sanger's Mapping and Archive Sequencing division plans to generate optical maps of bacterial and parasite genomes.

According to Carol Churcher, head of sequencing operations at the institute, traditional methods can take between three and six months to create physical maps of ordered contigs for small eukaryote genomes. "We need a new approach to improve the efficiency of finishing and validating sequence assemblies," she said in a statement from OpGen.

OpGen said that optical maps allow researchers to identify gaps in the sequence and target specific areas of the genome for additional sequencing. In addition, the maps provide an independent method for validating whole-genome sequence assemblies.

"We look forward to working with the Sanger team to continue to optimize their sequence assembly workflow and reduce the cost of sequence finishing," said OpGen CEO Doug White in a statement.

OpGen is also collaborating with BGI on expanding optical mapping to analyzing large genomes, including human, plant, and animal genomes (IS 11/9/2011). The company launched the Argus Optical Mapping system, which has a list price of $300,000, last summer.

In the fall, OpGen raised $17 million in a Series B financing round to market the system and expand its use in new markets (IS 9/28/2011).