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One-stop shopping for microbial genomes
November 2011
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill.—Eurofins MWG Operon and Integrated Genomics have agreed to combine their expertise in sequencing and analysis services for microbial, fungal and algal organisms.  
Integrated Genomics, based in Mount Prospect, Ill., is a leading commercial provider of microbial bioinformatics tools and services based on its ERGO genome sequence analysis platform.   Eurofins MWG Operon, a member of the Eurofins Group based in Ebersberg, Germany, is one of the leading global providers of DNA sequencing services, DNA synthesis products and bioinformatics services for academic and industrial research.  
"We have a presence in the United States with a production site in Huntsville, Ala.," notes Eurofins spokesperson Georg Gradl, "and have provided oligosynthesis and sequencing to Integrated Genomics for several years. Eurofins MWG Operon is an expert in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and has developed specific techniques and know how for de novo sequencing of genomes. IG is an expert in annotation of genome sequences. In order to offer the best service for our customers, we have now combined our expertise."
"As a leader in NGS technology, Eurofins has long been our preferred sequencing partner. With this increased integration we are now able to provide complete genome sequencing and analysis projects for our customers," says John W. Elling, CEO of Integrated Genomics.  
The goal of the cooperation is to provide customers with "one-stop-shopping" for complete genomics projects that deliver analysis results from the raw extracted DNA.
"Sequencing is the first step of a genome analysis project—providing the raw data which then needs to be annotated, curated and analyzed in order to generate the information that our customers are looking for," Elling notes. "IG carries out the genome analysis parts of the project with our ERGO software and tools after sequence data is generated by Eurofins. Occasionally IG's customers need their genomes sequenced to full closure. Because we have the largest database of closed microbial genomes in ERGO, we can often provide insight into how to close the gaps in the draft sequence by comparison with other genomes. IG also works with Eurofins to provide genome closure services to the market— using Eurofins to synthesize the primers for successive primer walking reactions. The unique advantage of the close collaboration is the ability to provide very cost-effective 'end-to-end' sequencing and analysis projects to the market by integrating the core competencies of each company."  
ERGO essentially creates a "systems biology" description of a microorganism from the sequence data, Elling explains.   "In most cases, the whole point of a sequencing project is to understand the behavior of a microorganism, so by delivering the data in ERGO, the end product is much closer to the customer's goal. ERGO integrates genomic information with biochemical data, literature and high-throughput analysis into a comprehensive user-friendly network of metabolic and non-metabolic pathways. Users evaluate protein sequence similarity, synteny and gene neighborhood information, as well as pathway component occurrence profiles between organisms, and regulatory and expression data in order to obtain the best possible set of gene functional predictions," Elling adds. "The only competition to ERGO is the duplicate IMG software created by the DOE. The IMG software puts the gene sequence into the public domain so it is not attractive to corporate users. The IMG software also lacks the ability to correlate differential gene and protein expression data through the organism's genome to the pathways and systems that are changing."  
"We take specific care to build up a technical and operational pipeline which is suitable to meet our quality standards and the high service level we want to provide to our customers," says Bruno Poddevin, Eurofins' senior vice president of genomic services. "The specific know-how and bioinformatics capabilities of Integrated Genomics are an excellent fit to our portfolio for prokaryotic, yeast and fungal genome sequencing services."  

Code: E111119



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