Illumina MiSeq sequencer lights up diagnostics research in eastern and central Africa

From 24th June to 5th July 2013,  the BecA-ILRI Hub is hosting a training workshop on the use of the newly installed Illumina genome sequencing machine (MiSeq). The training conducted by Claudia Hasche, a senior field application specialist from the Alliance Global Group includes both wet-lab sessions as well as a number of presentations describing the MiSeq system and its different applications.

A first of its kind in the eastern Africa region, the MiSeq will enable the BecA-ILRI Hub genomics platform better meet the expectations of emerging research, capacity building and services demands in the BecA region and beyond. The Illumina MiSeq will significantly increase the capabilities of the genomics platform reduce sequencing costs.

“I am really excited about the possibilities this new sequencer presents,” says Francesca Stomeo a genomics scientist at the BecA-ILRI Hub who played a key role in organizing the workshop. “The MiSeq is more user-friendly, it is faster and it is less expensive to operate than other next generation sequencing platforms.

Among the scientists in the region who will have access to the new sequencer for their crop and livestock disease diagnostics research are Joseph Ndunguru, principal scientist at the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute in Tanzania for his work on cassava viruses; ILRI Biosciences teams working on animal disease diagnostics; scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; scientists from the International Potato Center; as well as scientists from various other CGIAR centers and National Agricultural Research Institutions. The use of the sequencer by these researchers will be supported through a grant received by the Hub from the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative.

The machine was acquired with funding from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through the BecA-Sweden partnership on food security. The partnership was developed to support food and nutritional security in the BecA sub region and enhance individual and institutional capacity building in the biosciences.  

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