MassARRAY technique targets drug resistance

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Related tags: Bacteria, Genetics

A technique used to conduct fully automated high throughput
mutation detection in microbial genomes, has shown greater
sensitivity over existing methods. The method analyses genetic
modification in bacteria and other disease causing organisms,
pinpointing the changes leading to antibiotic drug resistance.

This research forms a foundation for large-scale comparative sequencing, leading to better understanding of the pathogenicity of organisms. More importantly it will be able to identify the mutations that lead to antibiotic drug resistance, which has the potential to become a health problem of epic proportion.

Sequenom's MassARRAY system was used in the fully automated detection of sequence deviations from given reference sequences. It also handled the parallel screening of multiple samples.

The system is a high-performance DNA analysis platform that measures the amount of genetic target material and variations therein. The system is able to deliver specific data from complex biological samples and from genetic target material that is only available in trace amounts.

In comparative methods such as conventional gel sequencing, time is spent manually reviewing sequencer readouts to interpret ambiguities. As well as being hugely time consuming, human intervention introduces a significant error factor during the analysis of primary data.

MassARRAY system is designed to automatically list any deviations identified in the comparative sequence to facilitate and accelerate analysis.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) used the system to conduct the research into the bacterium Escherichia coli- K12 (E. coli). The comparative sequencing study results appear in the December 2004 issue of Genome Research.

"This research represents the first time our MassARRAY technology has been used to conduct high throughput genetic analysis of bacteria. We know how well our system performs,"​ said Charles Cantor, CSO of Sequenom.

"We believe this research will eventually lead to a better understanding of the pathogenicity of organisms and identify mutations that lead to antibiotic drug resistance,"​ he commented.

The researchers commented that the next step was to utilize the MassARRAY system in future studies on the evolutionary trajectory of the detected mutations. Additional studies on pathogens have the potential to provide a mechanistic basis for pathogenesis and management of disease.

Originally developed as a genotyping platform, the continually expanding portfolio for the MassARRAY technology now includes microbial typing, mutation detection, gene expression profiling, genetic trace analysis, and epigenetic analysis.

Only last month, clinicians at the Baylor College of Medicine have published the successful implementation of the MassARRAY system for high-throughput Cystic Fibrosis (CF) testing, discovering a new disease causing polymorphism in the process.

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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