This week in techniques

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Assays & screens

Multiple annealing and looping-based amplification cycles (MALBAC) to identify single-nucleotide and copy-number variations in single human cells

MALBAC could be used to identify genomic variations at the single cell level. MALBAC uses a genome amplification step that introduces less bias than current sequencing methods. In single cells from a human colon adenocarcinoma cell line, MALBAC sequencing provided 85%-93% genome coverage, whereas standard sequencing methods provided 72% coverage. In the same cells, MALBAC could detect single-nucleotide variations with 76% efficiency compared with 41% for standard sequencing. Next steps include applying MALBAC-based single-cell genome sequencing in cases for which sample size is limited, such as circulating tumor cells.

SciBX 6(3); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.66
Published online Jan. 24, 2013

Patent application filed; Harvard University's Office of Technology Development is in licensing and commercialization discussions with undisclosed entities

Zong, C. et al. Science; published online Dec. 21, 2012;
doi:10.1126/science.1229164
Contact: X. Sunney Xie, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
e-mail:

xie@chemistry.harvard.edu