Reproducibility in Reproductive Genetic Testing

Written by Bioscribe on February 26, 2018

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It turns out that humans, more than any other species, have a propensity for making chromosomally abnormal embryos. As women age, the chances are even higher that the embryos they create will not mature into live children.

IGENOMIX, a global leader in the reproductive testing space with a vast presence in the US, Japan, India, Turkey, Rome, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Spain, tests thousands of embryos in its labs every month, in order to help couples select those that are most likely to be viable.

In this Mendelspod recording, Chief Operating Officer Gary Harton discusses the ethical and technical issues his company faces, and describes how lab automation is crucial to his round-the-clock operation.

For several years, arrays that examined all 24 chromosomes in 24 hours were the gold standard in reproductive genetic testing. But when next-generation sequencing hit the market around four years ago, it quickly took hold, and IGENOMIX switched over almost entirely a year ago.

In addition to this enhanced sequencing technology, automated laboratory systems based on robotic loading and liquid handling has made a huge impact. The Echo® Liquid Handler allows IGENOMIX to handle tiny sample sizes in an efficient, reproducible manner.

"We are doing high-end genetic testing in very short turnaround times on three cells, four cells, taken from a live, growing embryo," Harton says. "Embryos don't have weekends. They don't take breaks. They don't have holidays. And they don't know what time it is. So our labs run pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week." "Things you can put on a robot, you're going to get a lot more reproducible data and reproducible results than you can if you've got humans trying to run these things 24 hours a day seven days a week," he adds. "I've been doing this for 30 years, I still wake up every day and marvel that we can do this, reliably, without really batting an eye." Harton goes on to discuss emerging tests, as well as the varied ethical and regulatory considerations he encounters around the world.

Listen to the complete podcast here and learn more about how IGENOMIX uses the Echo Liquid Handler in its NGS library prep in this webinar.

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