Achieving High-Quality, Strain-Level Resolution of Microbial Communities

Written by Labcyte on December 27, 2018

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The link between our microbiome and health has seen a growing number of associations, making it critical to identify not only species but also strain so that scientists can discover the most targeted treatment. That’s why Labcyte and CosmosID have teamed up: together, our liquid handling tools and metagenomics analysis methods enable high-quality, strain-level results.

In a recent Nature webinar Jefferson Lai, Applications Scientist from Labcyte, detailed the use of the Echo® 525 Liquid Handler to miniaturize NGS library preparation of 16S rRNA amplicons and whole genomes ten-fold, reducing reagent usage and costs. This was followed by data analysis using the CosmosID cloud-based bioinformatics platform, which is paired with a large sequencing database for metagenomic analysis. These tools make it possible to identify the composition of a microbiome community from genomic data in 30 minutes or less.

To make whole genome sequencing of microbiome communities affordable for routine use, miniaturization through acoustic liquid handling is key, and as Lai noted:

Whole genome sequencing can be miniaturized with no loss of data quality. Diversity is maintained.

The webinar offers viewers a deeper dive into the Labcyte/CosmosID combination for generating strain-level resolution of microbial pathogens to provide intelligence about pathogenicity, virulence, and antibiotic resistance. As CosmosID CSO Nur Hasan explained in the presentation, “The clinically informative and actionable unit is actually the strain and not the species.” Unfortunately, he added, this level of detail is what “most bioinformatic tools fail to provide.”

Lai’s presentation also includes practical advice for automating and streamlining sequencing processes using an Echo Liquid Handler. Miniaturization also provides the ability to analyze replicates of each sample; highly consistent replicates allow for increased statistical confidence.

The webinar is about an hour long and offers many tips for expanding and accelerating the scope of your work. We hope you have a chance to watch!

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