Texas A&M University AgriLife in College Station has created a new genetic sequencing system, which is an ultramodern version of their existing model Illumina HiSeq 2500. The university expects the new Illumina HiSeq 2500v4 to allow researchers to improve their projects, as well as to advance them to the leading edge in the field. The facility has also been relocated in order to offer more space and accommodate newly-hired staff.
The new sequencing system is able to sequence the equivalent of five human genomes in two days. The university also explained that the modern version will allow researchers to do bigger and more statistically accurate studies, and that the costs of the technology are the same as for the older system.
“The addition of our new sequencing system — the Illumina HiSeq 2500v4 — will allow researchers across Texas A&M to generate 40 percent more data in half the time and for the same cost as our system from two years ago,” explained the director of Genomics and Bioinformatics and managing director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Genomic Systems Engineering at Texas A&M, Dr. Charles Johnson.
“The cost savings from this purchase to those with funded genomics grants will be well in excess of the cost of the new system,” he added. The new updated version was funded $740,000 that came primarily from commitments with long-term academic and industry clients, as explained by Johnson.
Texas A&M AgriLife was launched in order to offer the genomic and bioinformatics service in 2010. The Illumina HiSeq 2500, the first sequencing system, was launched two years later. The first version has the potential to “sequence the equivalent of the human genome in one day for as little as $1,000, whereas it took more than 13 years to do the original human genome project and cost $2.7 billion,” as the director explained.
“In this period when technology is changing at such a staggering pace, an ever-improving and expanding genomic technology unit such as AgriLife has ensures that we stay in the forefront of genomics research,” said the director of AgriLife Research at the College Station, Dr. Craig Nessler. In addition to working with next generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics expertise and hundreds of faculty across the Texas A&M System, the organization is currently working with researchers in 20 countries.
The center has also recently relocated to a new facility in south College Station, quadrupling the previous laboratory and office space. “We have greatly increased our high throughput sample handling capacity as well. And we also greatly expanded our bioinformatics capabilities through hiring additional bioinformatics staff and partnering with the faculty of the Center for Bioinformatics and Genomic System Engineering,” said Charles Johnson.
Charles Johnson announced that the Texas University A&M is planning a new research program, state-supported, to study the use of the genomics of plant water. “The program will provide much-needed preliminary data for AgriLife and engineering faculty to explore ways to improve plant water use across the state using the latest in next generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics methodologies,” he explained.