Refining RNA Sequencing

Twist Bioscience strengthens its next-generation sequencing capabilities with the launch of a dedicated suite of RNA sequencing solutions.

AsianScientist (Sep. 14, 2023)–The advent of high-throughput sequencing in the 2000s has shaped the research landscape across the biological, clinical and medical fields. Also known as next-generation sequencing (NGS), it has enabled research at a molecular level, driving advancements in disease management, biomarker discovery and drug development.

One company that has been spearheading the NGS technology revolution is Twist Bioscience. In May 2023, the global biotechnology and genomics company launched a new portfolio of RNA sequencing solutions as part of its already comprehensive line-up of NGS tools.

“Twist’s RNA sequencing portfolio builds on our established NGS capabilities in genomic sequencing and methylation detection and expands into gene expression analysis, opening a new and significant market for Twist. This offering allows our customers to leverage Twist’s leading target enrichment platform to discover and resolve low abundance RNA transcripts in the human transcriptome. Our RNA sequencing workflows are designed specifically for challenging samples. By enriching relevant transcripts, we can enable researchers to get high-quality data from a range of sample types, including damaged RNA,” said Emily M. Leproust, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience.

The new suite of RNA sequencing solutions leverages Twist Bioscience’s signature target enrichment approach that enables the isolation and precise sequencing of genomic regions of interest. The solutions also offer three distinct advantages: modularity, efficiency and compatibility.

In terms of modularity, the solutions can support the end-to-end workflows of both targeted RNA sequencing and whole transcriptome sequencing. With the Twist RNA Library Prep Kit (available in configurations of 16 and 96 samples) and various custom or fixed panels, researchers can choose to sequence either specific RNA transcripts or the complete RNA transcriptome according to their experimental goals.

Designed to streamline the workflows, the solutions enable researchers to move from preparing a sample to building a complete library for sequencing in under five hours— among the best in the industry. Compared to competing solutions in the market, Twist Bioscience’s target enrichment approach for RNA sequencing ensures efficiency as more reads can be obtained with less bench time.

Twist Bioscience’s RNA sequencing kits are also automation-friendly and can be integrated into existing workflows. They are compatible with different standard and fast hybridization reagents, unique molecular identifiers and unique dual indices. Additionally, they can support sample inputs of varying quality levels, accepting inputs from 1 to 1,000 nanograms.

“A feature our customers have been really excited about is that our solutions for RNA sequencing work well with a wide range of inputs, including less-than-ideal samples like formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. These samples are known to be challenging because the RNA becomes fragmented and degraded. This is just one of the high-level capabilities that make RNA sequencing efficient for researchers by using Twist tools,” described Dr Leproust.

Among the new RNA sequencing tools launched by Twist Bioscience is the Twist RNA Exome panel. It is a comprehensive panel covering 35.8 megabases, over 19,000 genes and more than 63,000 isoforms. Compared to other methods, it requires fewer sequencing reads to detect and analyze the same number of genes, optimizing workflow efficiency.

Sequencing performance is elevated with Twist Bioscience’s introduction of the exon-aware design for RNA sequencing panels. A novel algorithm, the exon-aware design reduces detection bias in the Twist RNA Exome panel and enables it to identify isoforms and exon-exon junctions that are often missed by conventional design algorithms.

“Our RNA Exome panel uses intelligent exon-aware technology, enabling researchers to capture all the variations and exon configurations of a gene. It can also pick up other novel events, like gene fusions or novel isoforms of RNA. This is a new capability for Twist, and it translates over to our custom panel designs as well,” Dr Leproust explained.

In collaboration with CeGaT, a leading clinical diagnostics company in Europe, Twist Bioscience also launched the Twist Alliance CeGaT RNA Fusion Panel. Developed for oncology studies, it is an RNA-based enrichment panel focused on gene fusions. It covers 160 genes and different types of cancer, targeting 121 known fusions that occur in oncology. The panel adds to Twist Bioscience’s offering of sequencing products for cancer research, including panels for cell-free DNA sequencing and for minimal residual disease (MRD) detection.

According to Dr Leproust, the RNA sequencing solutions mark a new milestone for the company, which is already well-established in DNA sequencing. They are also a testament to the team’s ability to provide a complex yet exciting global launch of new modular kits, panels and panel capabilities.

She added that these RNA sequencing solutions continue the company’s ethos of improving sequencing efficiency and will enable researchers to “do more science”:

“I am confident that this addition to our portfolio will drive the efficiency of sequencing, allowing researchers to run more samples as well as get more and better-quality data to make more discoveries. With our Twist Alliance CeGaT RNA Fusion Panel, clinical diagnostic developers and researchers may be able to understand and diagnose cancer earlier to result in more effective outcomes for the patient.”

Reach out to Twist Bioscience to learn more about the RNA sequencing solutions here.

Source: Twist Bioscience; Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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