Roche, BGI team on new capture tech for genetics studies

Two powerhouses in genomics have joined forces on new technology that could improve research on diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Roche NimbleGen and BGI said Monday that they have developed a new technology for capturing and enriching the "major histocompatibility complex" (MHC) region of genes. The tech is built on Roche's SeqCap EZ Choice Library.

It's important to zero in on the MHC region--which includes 150 expressing genes--in sequencing studies. Drug researchers have a keen interest in this cluster of genes because of its role in major diseases such as diabetes, cancer, AIDS and hardening of the arteries, according to Roche and BGI. The companies' new tech covers the entire region of genes and surrounding regions.

"This new technology enables targeted sequencing of 97% or more of the overall MHC region, and close to 100% coverage of the gene coding regions," Hui Jiang, a technical specialist at BGI, said in a statement. "The high accuracy of this new technology is demonstrated by a 99.42% concordance with traditional genotyping technologies. But not only does this technology enable accurate genotyping of known SNPs, it provides the opportunity to discover novel SNPs."

Roche NimbleGen, a unit of the Swiss healthcare giant, provides microarray tools for genetic research and analysis, and China-based BGI is one of the world's largest genome sequencing companies.

- here's the release