Researchers Of Newly Discovered European Cavefish Awarded Genome Sequencing Grant From Pacific Biosciences And GENEWIZ

MENLO PARK, California and SOUTH PLAINFIELD, New Jersey, June 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ: PACB), the leading provider of high-quality sequencing systems for genomes, transcriptomes and epigenomes, and GENEWIZ, a leading global genomics service provider, today announced that Professor Dr. Arne Nolte of the Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Oldenburg, Germany and Assistant Professor Dr. Fritz Sedlazeck from the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, have been awarded the 2018 Plant and Animal SMRT® Grant. The grant will provide Nolte and Sedlazeck access to the PacBio® Sequel® System at GENEWIZ, as well as the materials needed and bioinformatics support to conduct comparative genomics on the newly discovered European cavefish. 

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The fish, Cave barbatula, was discovered in 2015 by diver Joachim Kreiselmaier as he explored the deepest parts of the Danube-Aach cave system in Southern Germany. After discussing this “strange fish” with friend and ecologist Assistant Professor Dr. Jasminca Behrmann-Godel of the Limnological Institute of the University of Konstanz, Kreiselmaier brought back a live sample for analysis.

Cavefish are found in hostile subterranean environments that lack light and nutrition and have evolved to live in a world of darkness. The fish Kreiselmaier found showed typical adaptions to cave life such as a pale body coloration, much smaller eyes, and larger nares and barbels when compared to loaches from surface locations nearby. It represents the first cavefish discovery in Europe, as well as the northernmost in the world.

Nolte and Sedlazeck have joined efforts with Behrmann-Godel to further understand the evolution of the European cavefish from its ancestors in surface waters and among other cave species, and a high-quality genome assembly will allow them to investigate the genetic make-up of organisms, including all features that are essential to understand gene function. This allows for the comparison among species to infer evolutionary changes at the level of the genome. Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing on the Sequel System provides long read lengths with uniform coverage, which leads to high accuracy and contiguity, both essential to generate complete and accurate views of a genome.

According to Dr. Fritz Sedlazeck, Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine:
“This grant enables us to establish the genome assembly of the European cavefish and identify genetic variants from its surface-water ancestors. We are fascinated by changes in the sensory system and pale pigmentation of the fish and we will compare its genomic makeup with the Mexican cavefish which is an important model organism in developmental biology. The outcome of this study will enable us to understand the initial steps that lead to the evolution of cave animals and impact our understanding of how multiple phenotypes evolve among vertebrates.”

According to Kevin Corcoran, Senior Vice President of Market Development for Pacific Biosciences:
“We are pleased once again to partner with our certified service provider GENEWIZ to bring the winners of the 2018 Plant and Animal SMRT Grant access to highly accurate, long-read sequencing that will help further their understanding of the evolution of the European cavefish.”

According to Dr. Ginger Zhou, Vice President, Global Next Generation Sequencing for GENEWIZ:
“The combination of PacBio’s powerful genomics platforms and GENEWIZ’s depth of experience in genomics and next generation sequencing provides researchers like Drs. Nolte and Sedlazeck the technology and support they require to further their discoveries and understanding of the world around us.”

For more information about whole genome sequencing on the Sequel System, visit:

For more information on whole genome sequencing with GENEWIZ, including long-read sequencing on the Sequel System, visit:

Photo credit: ©Jasminca Behrmann-Godel

GENEWIZ is a global leader in genomics services that enable research scientists within pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agriculture, environmental and clean energy, academic, and government institutions to advance their discoveries. Customers rely on our unique and proprietary genomics technologies and services, backed by our specialized experts in Sanger sequencing, gene synthesis, molecular biology, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and GLP regulatory-compliant services.

Headquartered in South Plainfield, NJ, GENEWIZ is privately-held with a network of laboratories in Boston, MA; Washington, D.C. Metro; Research Triangle Park, NC; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. International locations include Beijing, Suzhou, Tianjin, and Guangzhou, China; Takeley, United Kingdom; and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WeChat, and Weibo.

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ: PACB) offers sequencing systems to help scientists resolve genetically complex problems. Based on its novel Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) technology, Pacific Biosciences’ products enable: de novo genome assembly to finish genomes in order to more fully identify, annotate and decipher genomic structures; full-length transcript analysis to improve annotations in reference genomes, characterize alternatively spliced isoforms in important gene families, and find novel genes; targeted sequencing to more comprehensively characterize genetic variations; and real-time kinetic information for epigenome characterization. Pacific Biosciences’ technology provides high accuracy, ultra-long reads, uniform coverage, and the ability to simultaneously detect epigenetic changes. PacBio® sequencing systems, including consumables and software, provide a simple, fast, end-to-end workflow for SMRT Sequencing. More information is available at

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