SPT Labtech and RevoluGen Demonstrate Fully Automated Bead-Based High Molecular Weight DNA Extraction


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The collaboration delivers a walk-away solution suitable for high-throughput long-read sequencing in under two hours

Cambridge, UK, 28 February 2024 – SPT Labtech, a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of automated instrumentation and consumables for life science applications, and RevoluGen Ltd. (RevoluGen), a UK genomics company, announce the successful automation of RevoluGen’s Fire Monkey™ High Molecular Weight (HMW) DNA extraction chemistry in a bead-based format using SPT Labtech’s firefly® automated liquid handling platform. The automated protocol enables the processing of up to 96 samples in parallel to prepare HMW DNA suitable for library preparation for long-read sequencing in under two hours.

The results from this collaboration, which was established in 2023, represent a meaningful advance in sample preparation efficiency for long-read DNA sequencing and eliminates the need for highly repetitive, manual pipetting. Automating tedious liquid handling steps with firefly not only increases the speed and throughput of extraction workflows by removing productivity bottlenecks, but also improves the accuracy and repeatability of results by minimizing the risk of human error.

To achieve this, RevoluGen has applied its Fire Monkey High Molecular Weight DNA extraction chemistry to develop a magnetic bead-based DNA extraction method that is compatible with the liquid handling volumes and broad capabilities of SPT Labtech’s firefly automated liquid handling instrument.

The efficiency and reliability of this automated workflow have been validated in a published application note.

Dr Georgios Patsos, inventor of the patent-protected Fire Monkey technology, and Chief Scientific Officer at RevoluGen said, “The High Molecular Weight DNA obtained using this automated protocol showed exceptional quality, achieving an average strand length of at least 100kb as confirmed by FemtoPulse measurements. Importantly, this method produces library-ready extracts, setting it apart from other technologies. The Fire Monkey chemistry not only efficiently extracts HMW-DNA in several formats, but also minimizes the presence of shorter DNA molecules that often consume sequencing resources and require labour-intensive and expensive post-extraction size-selection steps. The Fire Monkey extract was used on the LSK114/MinION platform from Oxford Nanopore Technologies without any post-extraction size-selection, and yielded outstanding read N50 and throughput results, as detailed in the application note.

“This combination of Fire Monkey reagents and firefly’s automation capabilities represents an excellent fit for long-read sequencing users seeking an automated solution for High Molecular Weight DNA extraction. In addition, the same DNA extract can also be used for short read and hybrid (short/long) read workflows. This sequencing-agnostic nucleic acid extraction workflow will not only save costs but also will future-proof sample usage for surveillance and population genomics programmes. We look forward to seeing this combination used in laboratories worldwide where scientists can realize the benefits of this workflow.”

Graeme Smethurst, Head of Corporate Development at SPT Labtech commented, “firefly’s compact benchtop footprint hosts the capabilities of multiple instruments, including modules for dispensing, pipetting, mixing and temperature-controlled incubation, which make it an ideal solution for the Fire Monkey bead-based extraction method. Automating this process paves the way for more efficient laboratory workflows, by reducing the burden of manual labor and enabling skilled scientists to focus on other critical thinking tasks.”