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The Max Planck Institute in Leipzig acquires second Genome Sequencing FLX™ System

Instrument will be used to sequence the genome of Bonobo, furthering the Institute’s research into human evolution

(PresseBox) (Branford, USA, ) 454 Life Sciences, a part of Roche Applied Science, today announced that the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has purchased its second Genome Sequencer FLX (GS FLX) System. The institute chose to add to its previous Genome Sequencer System, initially purchased as a GS 20 in August 2006 and upgraded to a GS FLX in 2007, based on the platform’s unique ability to address current research and anticipated future needs. With the acquisition of the second instrument, the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig’s total 454 Sequencing capacity is now 400 million bases per day.

Based in the lab of Professor Svante Pääbo, Director of the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute, the two GS FLX instruments will be used to sequence the genome of the Bonobo, a great ape closely related to humans. Svante Pääbo is a world leading anthropologist well known for his research on Neanderthals, including his efforts to sequencing the complete Neandertal genome. The Bonobo genome sequence will allow scientists to gauge the fine-scale evolution of the Chimpanzee genome in the same way as the Neanderthal genome will provide insight into the evolution of the human genome.

The Max Planck Institute chose the Genome Sequencer System from a short list of competing technologies because of the system’s applicability to mammalian genome sequencing. The system’s unique features such as long read lengths and lack of bias enable researchers to obtain a comprehensive picture of their genome of interest, quickly and affordably. Beyond whole genome sequencing, the GS FLX is the most flexible next-generation sequencing platform available, allowing researchers to access diverse applications on a single platform.

"Since we began the Neandertal Genome Project in 2006, the 454 Sequencing system has consistently demonstrated that it is an excellent platform for mammalian genome sequencing," said Prof. Pääbo. "When it came time to increase our sequencing capacity for the Bonobo project, the GS FLX was the logical choice. The Bonobo genome, in conjunction with our Neandertal sequencing effort, will give us an unprecedented view of human and chimpanzee evolution."

"It is inspiring to see the 454 Sequencing technology used by the Max Planck Institute in their groundbreaking analysis of the Neandertal and Bonobo genomes; research that could uncover the genetic basis of traits that make our species unique," said Christopher McLeod, president and CEO of 454 Life Sciences. "The purchase of a second GS FLX instrument by the Max Planck Institute, demonstrates the system’s utility for sequencing genomes of any size. We provide a platform with the power to deliver the highest quality results today and the flexibility to provide continuous improvements in throughput and read length."

The Neandertal genome project is an ongoing effort to sequence the complete genome of humans’ closest relative. Initial findings of the project, which employs 454 Sequencing, have been published in several groundbreaking papers entitled "Analysis of one million base pairs of Neanderthal DNA" which appeared in the November 16, 2006 Nature, "Sequencing and Analysis of Neanderthal Genomic DNA" which appeared in Science (November 16, 2006), and "Patterns of damage in genomic DNA sequences from a Neandertal" which appeared in PNAS of August 21st.

454 Life Sciences, a center of excellence of Roche Applied Science, develops and commercializes the innovative Genome Sequencer™ system for ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing. Specific applications include de novo sequencing and re-sequencing of genomes, metagenomics, RNA analysis, and targeted sequencing of DNA regions of interest. The hallmarks of 454 Sequencing™ are its simple, unbiased sample preparation and long, highly accurate sequence reads, including paired reads. 454 Sequencing technology has enabled many peer-reviewed studies in diverse research fields, such as cancer and infectious disease research, drug discovery, marine biology, anthropology, paleontology and many more.

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