The Genome Analysis Center Uses Fastest Processor Ever


DRAGEN Board with Chip and Memory. Source: Edico Genome.


The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) will use Edico Genome´s DRAGEN, the world´s first processor specifically designed to analyze DNA sequences. DRAGEN reduces next generation sequencing workflows from hours to minutes. The processor will be adapted to parse non-human DNA to support TGAC´s project on sustainability, which includes sequencing genomes of plants, bacteria and animals.

TGAC is a research institute located in the UK that uses bioinformatics to promote a sustainable bioeconomy. The center hosts several computing platforms with state-of-the-art hardware and are among the best European institutes in their field. Their research focuses on bioenergy, food security and health. Among other tasks, the TGAC staff sequence whole genomes, obtain transcriptome and gene regulation profiles and analyze sequence variation. TGAC hosts sequencing platforms that generate high quality data, and computing platforms for large data storage and analysis. The team at TGAC works on implementing new tools, analytical methods and resources for life science researchers.

DRAGEN is the first NGS processor in the world. It reduces computational costs and increases speed, while retaining accuracy. The processor is loaded with optimized algorithms for reference‐based mapping, aligning, sorting, deduplication and variant calling, the common analyses on extensive cluster or cloud‐based platforms. DRAGEN eliminates the need of large servers to analyze data, saving space and money. It can be integrated into sequencing devices and NGS servers. It supports pipelines for Whole Genome, Whole Exome and Targeted Panels, Epigenome/Methylome, RNA-seq/Transcriptome, Microbiome and Cancer Tumor/Normal.

Attracted by DRAGEN´s data processing speeds, TGAC conducted an initial evaluation, mapping the ash tree genome. DRAGEN was 177 times faster than TGAC´s High Performance Computing (HPC) systems. Three hours of work for a large dataset were reduced to seven minutes. Similar results were obtained for rice genome alignments. The speed didn´t affect sensitivity or specificity.

TGAC expects to take advantage of DRAGEN´s technology in the study of the wheat genome, five times bigger than Homo sapiens‘. Wheat is a basic resource for one third of the world population, and improving the knowlegde of its genome would allow to improve yields.

Edico genome hopes this collaboration sets a precedent and convinces other research institutes and universities to partner with them.

Source: TGAC

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