Helicos BioSciences Corporation (NASDAQ: HLCS), a life science company focused on innovative genetic analysis technologies, today announced the publication of a landmark study in which Helicos’ True Single Molecule Sequencing (tSMS)™ technology was used to directly sequence individual molecules of RNA. The paper appeared yesterday in the on-line edition of Nature and will appear in an upcoming 2009 print issue of Nature.
The study consists of the accurate sequencing and quantitation of RNA molecules obtained directly from a biological sample without amplification, ligation or cDNA synthesis.
“Direct RNA sequencing is the first example of the innovative methods that can only be performed using true single molecule sequencing.” stated Patrice Milos, PhD, VP and Chief Scientific Officer. “Scientists, for the first time, will be able to analyze the RNA from their samples directly, completely eliminating the biases inherent to traditional RNA analysis techniques that rely on copying cDNA from RNA.”
Scientists at Helicos developed the methodology using synthetic oligoribonucleotides and applied it to the direct sequencing of PolyA+ RNA from the well-characterized yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This Direct RNA sequencing approach revealed new biological findings in the form of polyadenylated small nucleolar RNAs and heterogeneity in the 3’ polyadenylation sites in yeast transcripts.
“This exciting work demonstrates that our technology enables a new set of methods and applications that were previously impossible, and that Helicos’ single-molecule sequencing system is truly unique in the genetic analysis market.” said Ron Lowy, CEO of Helicos. “Simple RNA analysis, only available through tSMS, will open up new market areas for Helicos. Until now, customers could not access these types of applications due to the cost and complexity of competing next-gen sequencers.”
The Helicos® Genetic Analysis System is the world's first and only commercially available, single molecule sequencing technology, and enables scientists to conduct revolutionary studies in the fields of genome biology, cancer research, common diseases, and microbiology without DNA ligation or amplification. Genetic analysis with Helicos' technology eliminates the biases, complexity and errors introduced by nucleic acid amplification, requires minute amounts of starting material, and provides the most direct and accurate view of biological samples.