New DNA-sequencing equipment comes to RRC
Students in Red River College’s medical laboratory sciences program can now dive into DNA analysis.
The college got a new DNA sequencer called the iSeq 100. Users can put a DNA sample in the sequencer, and the machine will read it. When it’s done, the iSeq 100 provides the DNA’s sequence to its user for analysis and interpretation.
Students studying medical laboratory sciences will learn how to operate the iSeq 100. They won’t take a special course on it, but the machine will be used in the program’s wet labs.
Brent Guppy is a research manager at RRC who will oversee projects involving the iSeq 100. He said there are many work environments where it’s necessary to use DNA sequencing machines.
“Any kind of hospital-related diagnostic laboratory, any kind of research technician laboratory,” Guppy said.
The iSeq 100 will sequence any purified DNA sample—bacteria, human cells or viruses. Students can test a variety of samples in their program.
“It’s a great way to get the students trained up on DNA sequencing and get them work-ready,” Guppy said. “DNA sequencing is becoming much more popular.”
Guppy said science and medicine are constantly progressing and the fields are now shifting to using DNA sequencing.
“We used to have other ways to test certain diseases,” Guppy said. “Now we get more valuable information through DNA sequencing. It’s much easier to diagnose things.”
The iSeq 100 breaks the DNA into a chain of four chemicals: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. The way these chemicals are ordered says a lot about the DNA being sequenced, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Illumina, the creator of the iSeq 100, said on its website that its machine can be used to better understand cancer, areas of agriculture and reproductive health, among other things.
Laina Hughes, a research communications officer at RRC, held a news conference about the college’s new equipment. Staff working with the iSeq 100 gave Hughes a briefing about the machine.
“It was a very eye-opening experience, learning about something I’m not super familiar with,” Hughes said. “It was really exciting to see what this equipment will mean for Red River College.”
Hughes thinks the iSeq 100 will benefit different areas of RRC, such as furthering the college’s research initiatives.
“It’s going to be pretty important,” Hughes said.
The iSeq 100 stays in RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, home of the medical laboratory sciences program.
Illumina donated the equipment to the college.