Genomics & Epigenetics

DNA Extraction from FFPE Tissues for NextGen Sequencing

Rapid genomic analysis offered by next generation sequencing (NGS) is ideal for personalized medicine approaches to clinical genetics, microbiological profiling, and diagnostic oncology. Many standard clinical samples are preserved as formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues, which presents obstacles for use in NGS analysis. FFPE tissue preservation has the benefit of keeping samples intact for histological examination…

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Best Practices for DNA Shearing for NGS

Construction of high-quality sequencing libraries is pivotal to successful NGS, and DNA quality is one of the most critical aspects of library preparation. As this Nature Methods paper illustrates, DNA shearing involves appropriate and consistent fragment sizes for sensitive and accurate sequencing, and the fragments must be accurately analyzed prior to sequencing to measure molarity…

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Codon Optimization 101

The intriguing thing about protein expression is that the combination of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) that translate the 3 letter codon into an amino acid (aa) far exceeds the number of existing amino acids (aa). If you do the math correctly, the maximum number of unique combinations using the triplet code to code for the 4…

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Maxam-Gilbert Sequencing: What Was It, and Why It Isn’t Anymore

In the mid-1970s, two methods were developed for directly sequencing DNA: the Maxam-Gilbert sequencing (or chemical sequencing) method and the Sanger chain-termination method. Indeed, in 1980, both Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger were awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids”. Actually, each got a…

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How to Test the Efficiency of your sgRNA

To successfully edit your genome of interest, one critical step is to test the sgRNA you have designed. Fortunately there are programs that have been developed such as CRISPRscan for zebrafish, SSC, Sequence Scan for CRISPR, or WU-CRISPR that you can use to predict the efficiency and the suitability of the sgRNA. However, the prediction…

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Meeting the BioPython

The Biopython Project is an amazing initiative that helps scientists use Python for bioinformatics – and it’s exceptionally easy to learn! You can access online services, parse (read) different file types, analyze, and do a bunch of fun stuff with your data with Biopython. The people behind the project have put in a lot of…

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Probability Theory and Molecular Barcodes

In biology, a molecular barcode is a characteristic DNA sequence used to distinguish and gather together similar items. Such a simple but powerful concept is useful in various applications. As an example, the Barcoding of Life project aims to identify specimens through the sequencing of standard gene regions, and use these as barcodes. On the other…

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Variations on the ChIP-seq Theme and Challenges of Befriending Large Datasets

ChIP-seq has proved amazing. Through these new techniques, we can obtain big datasets in a matter of days, making our lives in the lab easier and more efficient. ChiP-seq combines chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays with whole genome sequencing. This makes it possible to understand where proteins bind to DNA and epigenetic modifications. Humans are not only their…

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