As a researcher, we all want to get the highest quality data and accuracy throughout the research process to inform us better. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting half baked data, unclear results, or chasing an insight down a rabbit hole only to find that it it was false. But where exactly do these problems come from and what can we do to fix them?
Getting high quality results from genome sequencing isn’t just confined with the “sequencing” step. It’s an end-to-end process that involves everything from the sample preparation to the bioinformatics. Conventional sequencing facilities typically specialize in only a few involved in genome sequencing but don’t offer a complete solution. For example, one lab may specialize in DNA extraction but not genome sequencing. This forces researchers to do the DNA extraction at that lab then coordinate shipping the extracted DNA to another sequencing facility (often in a completely different state). From there, the researcher gets the raw sequencing data but since most facilities don’t offer bioinformatics services, they get stuck with unusable data. Thus, they must go to another company to get the data interpreted.
The increased number of vendors required just to get insights provides ample headaches and a highly increased budget. Additionally, each vendor has their own “quirks” where they have certain methods for one step of the process but the next vendor can’t work with what the prior vendor gave them. It’s a complicated mess that increases the lead time to months and hundreds of email threads trying to coordinate efforts. Researchers become project managers just to get their project moving and to glean insights.
A vertically integrated system that owns the entire process eliminates these headaches. The bioinformatician can talk with the lab tech who can talk with the software engineer who can talk with the client. When a project comes through a vertically integrated sequencing facility, everyone has intimate access to the project and works harmoniously with little hindrance. But the real benefits lie within cost savings and turnaround times.
If a sequencing facility is vertically integrated, the client gets a cost savings of not having to pay for shipping samples between different facilities for different steps of the sequencing process (eg. DNA extraction). Additionally, there is a time cost savings where the researcher doesn’t need to spend time sourcing, coordinating, and answering questions between different vendors. When it comes to decreased turnaround times, there’s just no comparison. As soon as the sequencing is done a bioinformatician can quickly pick up the raw data to start analyzing based on the client requests. In that exchange alone there can be weeks of time savings not having to coordinate project descriptions, file transfers, data manipulation, and much more. Since the facility is vertically integrated, the bioinformatics pipelines are optimized for the sequencer data output and can easily be interpreted
At The Sequencing Center, we’ve specifically brought each of these important steps underneath into the same facility to solve these problems. We’ve been able to reduce the costs of sequencing between 3-5x on average through a vertical integration. Subsequently, this has also reduced the sequencing and bioinformatics turnaround time from months to just weeks. If you want to learn more about our process and how it can benefit your organization, get in touch with us!