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Posted in | Nanomedicine | Nanofluidics

Fluidigm Developing Quantification System Allowing Sequencing of Rare Samples

Published on March 30, 2009 at 8:26 AM

Fluidigm Corporation today announced a sample quantification system that allows researchers to sequence their libraries of rare samples and also dramatically lower costs, improve data quality and speed up time-to-results for scientists performing next-generation DNA sequencing.

Fluidigm’s new product, called SlingShot™, improves the productivity of next generation sequencing tools from Roche, Illumina and Applied Biosystems. It does so by exploiting the unique microfluidic properties of integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) to detect only amplifiable molecules within the sample mixture. IFCs use extremely small amounts of sample, so this technology opens up the ability to sequence rare libraries where suboptimal amounts of the tissue are available.

The ability of IFCs to count individual molecules -- using digital PCR – also eliminates the need for costly library titration as scientists ready their samples for sequencing. Currently, these preparation steps must be performed prior to almost every new sequencing run.

“We’re not offering another next-generation sequencing machine. Instead, our technology makes your high-throughput sequencer better,” said Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm President and Chief Executive Officer. “Because we can prepare and enable sequencing with such a small amount of sample, we expand the application space for researchers, sequencing companies and Fluidigm.”

Users of Fluidigm’s SlingShot technology are reporting key advantages at two junctions: sub-optimal sample quantitation and replacement of the library titration step. These implementations have allowed users to process previously failed samples and eliminate the costly titration step, saving significant processing time (up to 2 days).

As an example in making next-generation sequencers more productive, researchers using a 454 Sequencing System routinely perform a titration run to calibrate the equipment for its actual sequencing run. This titration run requires significant amounts of biological sample, can cost as much as $10,000, and can take up to a week to complete. Fluidigm’s SlingShot kit reduces the amount of biological sample needed to as little as one pico-gram (for both preparation and sequencing), eliminates this time-consuming costly titration step, and completes its work in less than four hours. This allows researchers to optimize their use of the high-throughput 454 DNA sequencing system.

Fluidigm’s SlingShot kit helps scientists find the optimal DNA ratio for sample preparation. It includes an IFC chip, library-specific assays for next-generation DNA sequencing platforms, the sample loading agent and the assay loading agent.

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