One-stop shopping for microbial genomes

Eurofins MWG Operon and Integrated Genomics to cooperate on end-to-end genomics projects

Lloyd Dunlap
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MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill.—Eurofins MWG Operon and IntegratedGenomics have agreed to combine their expertise in sequencing and analysisservices for microbial, fungal and algal organisms.
Integrated Genomics, based in Mount Prospect, Ill., is aleading commercial provider of microbial bioinformatics tools and services basedon its ERGO genome sequence analysis platform.
Eurofins MWG Operon, a member of the Eurofins Group based inEbersberg, Germany, is one of the leading global providers of DNA sequencingservices, DNA synthesis products and bioinformatics services for academic andindustrial research.
"We have a presence in the United States with a productionsite in Huntsville, Ala.," notes Eurofins spokesperson Georg Gradl, "and haveprovided oligosynthesis and sequencing to Integrated Genomics for severalyears. Eurofins MWG Operon is an expert in next-generation sequencing (NGS) andhas developed specific techniques and know how for de novo sequencing of genomes. IG is an expert in annotation ofgenome sequences. In order to offer the best service for our customers, we havenow combined our expertise."
"As a leader in NGS technology, Eurofins has long been ourpreferred sequencing partner. With this increased integration we are now ableto provide complete genome sequencing and analysis projects for our customers,"says John W. Elling, CEO of Integrated Genomics.
The goal of the cooperation is to provide customers with"one-stop-shopping" for complete genomics projects that deliver analysisresults from the raw extracted DNA. 
"Sequencing is the first step of a genome analysisproject—providing the raw data which then needs to be annotated, curated andanalyzed in order to generate the information that our customers are lookingfor," Elling notes. "IG carries out the genome analysis parts of the projectwith our ERGO software and tools after sequence data is generated by Eurofins.Occasionally IG's customers need their genomes sequenced to full closure.Because we have the largest database of closed microbial genomes in ERGO, wecan often provide insight into how to close the gaps in the draft sequence bycomparison with other genomes. IG also works with Eurofins to provide genomeclosure services to the market—using Eurofins to synthesize the primers forsuccessive primer walking reactions. The unique advantage of the closecollaboration is the ability to provide very cost-effective 'end-to-end'sequencing and analysis projects to the market by integrating the corecompetencies of each company."
ERGO essentially creates a "systems biology" description ofa microorganism from the sequence data, Elling explains.
"In most cases, the whole point of a sequencing project isto understand the behavior of a microorganism, so by delivering the data inERGO, the end product is much closer to the customer's goal. ERGO integratesgenomic information with biochemical data, literature and high-throughputanalysis into a comprehensive user-friendly network of metabolic andnon-metabolic pathways. Users evaluate protein sequence similarity, synteny andgene neighborhood information, as well as pathway component occurrence profilesbetween organisms, and regulatory and expression data in order to obtain thebest possible set of gene functional predictions," Elling adds. "The onlycompetition to ERGO is the duplicate IMG software created by the DOE. The IMGsoftware puts the gene sequence into the public domain so it is not attractiveto corporate users. The IMG software also lacks the ability to correlatedifferential gene and protein expression data through the organism's genome tothe pathways and systems that are changing."
"We take specific care to build up a technical andoperational pipeline which is suitable to meet our quality standards and thehigh service level we want to provide to our customers," says Bruno Poddevin,Eurofins' senior vice president of genomic services. "The specific know-how andbioinformatics capabilities of Integrated Genomics are an excellent fit to ourportfolio for prokaryotic, yeast and fungal genome sequencing services."

Lloyd Dunlap

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