Garvan announces the purchase of Irys Technology from BioNano Genomics
Media Release: 04 December 2013
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research today announced that it has elected to incorporate Irys technology from BioNano Genomics into its disease research programs, with particular emphasis on improving understanding of prostate cancer. With this purchase, Garvan becomes the first Early Access user of an Irys System in Australia.
“A complete understanding of the human genome variability and its relation to health continues to evade us,” said Principal Investigator Vanessa Hayes, Petre Chair of Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Sydney and Professor of Human Comparative and Prostate Cancer Genomics at the Garvan Institute’s Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
“Structural variation, in particular, is a critical and abundant form of novelty in genomes that unfortunately has been dramatically understudied due to the lack of suitable tools. Rather than generating the same type of data over and over, we are very keen to adopt new technologies that will allow us to better address the question: what are we missing? The Irys platform will have a major impact on our ability to characterise human genome variation, and we are thrilled to be the first group in Australia to adopt this new technology. It will also strengthen Garvan's capability for human genome analysis.”
The Kinghorn Cancer Centre was established in August 2012 as a joint initiative of the Garvan Institute and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney. The Centre’s primary focus is to study the molecular biology of cancer, develop new diagnostics and therapeutics, and transition these advances into clinical practice through holistic and individualised clinical care.
“Key to our mission,” said Professor Hayes, “is developing a much deeper understanding of the origin and progression of prostate cancer. Structural variation is likely to be a big driver, and the area that most needs to be studied. The Irys technology will go a long way towards helping us accomplish this goal.”
Professor Hayes is well known for studying ancient populations to better understand human health from a pure genomic perspective, outside of the confounding context of modern medicine. The ability to analyse such divergent genomes de novo and retain natural haplotype differences using extremely long molecule detection with Irys overcomes the limitations of traditional methods of re-sequencing and exome-targeted sequencing.
This unbiased, independent de novo capability is essential, according to Professor Hayes, as “the reference genome is not ideal for the populations we study.”
Irys makes it possible to routinely and accurately detect genomic structural variation and to finish genome assemblies. The fully automated Irys benchtop instrument uses the IrysChip to uncoil and confine long DNA molecules in proprietary NanoChannel Arrays where they are uniformly linearized in a highly parallel display for high-resolution, single-molecule imaging. Irys does not employ DNA fragmentation or amplification, which are typical with next-generation sequencing. The result is sequence information over extremely long “reads” ranging from hundreds of kilobases to a megabase, where the sample’s valuable structural information is preserved. Irys makes it possible for researchers to directly observe structural variants including replications, deletions, translocations and inversions.
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