If you haven’t listened yet to the Mendelspod interview with Bobby Sebra from the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai, we can’t recommend it highly enough. And that’s not because we happen to be sponsoring this podcast series on DNA sequencing — it’s because Sebra offers up some really interesting perspectives on a range of topics.
For example, he talks with Mendelspod’s Theral Timpson about the institute’s Resilience Project, which is just now kicking into high gear. Sebra outlines efforts to scale up the sequencing facility to meet the needs of this massive project, which aims to scan the DNA of healthy people to find naturally occurring biological mechanisms that might help them escape the effects of disease-causing variants.
Sebra is the institute’s director of technology development, so of course the interview includes great information about his view of the different sequencing platforms and how he chooses which platform to use for which project (for example, short reads for resequencing, and long reads for reference-quality genomes). His take is that scientists get the best results by using multiple platforms to generate complementary data.
Our favorite part was the discussion of sample prep, which Sebra notes is becoming a bigger challenge for genomic scientists with the growing need for larger DNA fragments for long-read and single-molecule platforms. “The quality of your input material needs to be better,” Sebra says, calling for novel methods in DNA extraction and processing. While his team can currently make a 20 Kb to 50 Kb library with enough input material, he says the dream is being able to make these extremely large-fragment libraries from vanishingly small input.
Sebra covers several other compelling topics in the 27-minute podcast, such as his response to the accusation that the genomics revolution has fallen flat, what’s exciting in clinical genomics, the need for single-cell sequencing, and his experience with data from BioNano Genomics, 10X Genomics, and Oxford Nanopore. Be sure to check it out.
And if you missed the first installment in the series, here’s the podcast with Rod Wing at the Arizona Genomics Institute.