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A sure selection
September 2010
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Agilent Technologies Inc. has introduced the SureSelect Human All Exon 50 Mb Target Enrichment kit for next-generation DNA sequencing. The kit enables researchers to streamline experiments by sequencing the expressed genome while discarding regions that are not of interest.  
The new kit was developed in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI) and Gencode consortium, where scientists added 12 megabases (Mb) of new content to a 38 Mb Agilent SureSelect Human All Exon kit. The original kit was developed with researchers at the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT. Additional content was defined by researchers at the WTSI as part of their participation in Gencode.  
Researchers at the WTSI and members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) have been using the new SureSelect All Human Exon kit on an early-access basis for about a year. The commercial version of the kit is now available.
"This new kit is the latest tool to emerge from a long collaboration between Agilent and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute," says Dr. Fred P. Ernani, Agilent SureSelect's platform business manager. "This kit has the most complete content to capture exomes. We look forward to continuing this productive relationship to bring the genomics community even better tools in the future."
WTSI has standardized on the Agilent SureSelect Target Enrichment system for its next-generation sequencing work. Due to its status as a charitable organization, the organization does not endorse commercial products.  
"Our sequence-capture pipeline is central to the institute's research into understanding gene function," says Dr. Cordelia Langford, head of genome analysis production at WTSI. "It is essential that the pipeline delivers reproducibly high-quality and efficiently processed samples for this important work."  
There are now 14 products in the SureSelect portfolio, with many more in development, Ernani notes. SureSelect products are available for enrichment of target sizes ranging from smaller than 200 Kb to more than 50 Mb in a single tube. Protocols now support Illumina end sequencing, paired-end sequencing and indexing protocols in addition to fragment library format, paired-end sequencing and barcoding on the SOLiD System.  
The Agilent SureSelect system enables researchers to focus on genomic regions of interest, rather than sequencing the entire genome. The Agilent system is based on an in-solution design, making it automation-friendly and easily scalable from ten reactions through thousands. The product line offers customer-specified mixtures of up to 55,000 biotinylated RNA probes, delivered in single tubes. The capture probes are 120 base pairs long, the longest currently on the market for this application.  
Ernani points out that they are "high-affinity" oligos. Because they are RNA based, rather than DNA based, they have a higher affinity for single-stranded DNA, which makes the probes very effective at capturing DNA-containing unknown mutations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions or deletions. The entire process is accomplished overnight, whereas competitive techniques can take a week.  
In the near future, Agilent will be launching version 2 of its 38 Mb kit as it was defined by work with the Broad Institute which has now sequenced more than 5,100 human genes. The 38 Mb kit has been optimized for unprecedented performance, Ernani says, and is more efficient than the 50 Mb product due to its smaller size. And finally, the SureSelect exon capture kit for sequencing of the kinome (genes expressing all the kinases in a sample), is being developed in collaboration with Rene Bernards of the Netherlands Cancer Institute at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), Amsterdam.  
 Agilent in biotech collaboration with Malaysian government
  PENANG, Malaysia—In early August, Agilent Technologies Inc. announced a second collaboration with an entity abroad: the Malaysian government.   Agilent said it will work with the government of Malaysia through the Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals (IPHARM), an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), to promote and develop cooperation in biotechnology.  
The strategic alliance will focus on the establishment of the IPHARM-Agilent Global Reference Research Lab and the development of human capital in biotechnology. The lab will develop global Halal testing standards in pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. It will also provide access to state-of-the-art analytical tools and expertise to develop the local industry and small- and medium-size companies in their commercialization efforts.  
"Agilent shares a common desire with the Government of Malaysia to realize the national agenda for biotechnology," says Gooi Soon Chai, president of Agilent Technologies Malaysia and Singapore. "Our partnership presents an enormous potential to accelerate the development of this field as the next engine of growth for the country."  
Code: E091004



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