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Sequencing Lab: Driving Indonesia’s Genomic Revolution

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The Sequencing Lab, one of the premier research facilities under the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), is strategically situated in the Soekarno Science and Technology Area in Cibinong. This facility serves as a critical hub for advancing genomic research within Indonesia, equipped with cutting-edge digital technology that supports comprehensive genome data-based research and fosters a vibrant and collaborative research community.

Rifki Sadikin, the Head of BRIN’s Computational Research Centre, underscored the immense significance of the Sequencing Lab’s scientific programmes and e-services. He highlighted that the primary focus of the lab is on the acquisition and analysis of genomic data, which forms the bedrock for DNA and RNA sequence-based research.

Rifki elaborated on the various capabilities of the Sequencing Lab, noting that its infrastructure enables detailed genomic studies that are crucial for a wide array of scientific inquiries and applications.

“The Sequencing Lab not only provides essential resources for genome data collection but also integrates advanced computational tools to facilitate the analysis and interpretation of genetic information,” Rifki explained. “This integration is vital for the progression of genomic sciences in Indonesia, as it allows researchers to conduct sophisticated analyses that can lead to discoveries in fields such as genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.”

“BRIN’s Sequencing Lab is designed to support comprehensive data acquisition programmes, particularly for genomic data, which serves as the cornerstone for advanced biological research,” Rifki stated. The facility sources samples from diverse biological entities, including microbes, plants, animals, humans, and environmental samples, enhancing the breadth of genomic data available for research.

Technically, the lab is being prepared in collaboration with sequencing machine manufacturers to ensure precise and efficient operation. “For instance, sequencing with Illumina-based NGS is conducted in partnership with Illumina, while long-read sequencing utilises Oxford Nanopore Technologies,” Rifki elaborated. This approach ensures that the sequencing processes are optimised for accuracy and efficiency.

The lab’s capabilities are extensive, offering equipment for Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) services on platforms like Illumina and MGI, as well as long-read sequencing with Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT). These services encompass whole genome sequencing, exome sequencing, and other applications. Currently, extraction services are limited to bacterial samples, but there are plans to expand to higher taxa, such as plants and animals, as the processes mature.

Rifki also detailed the various access mechanisms to the Sequencing Lab. The regular ELSA (Electronic Laboratory Service Application) is available for both internal and external users, providing services including Sanger sequencing, iScan-Illumina for genotyping, and NGS-based sequencing with Illumina, MGI, and ONT. Additionally, a customised, test-based sequencing lab ELSA is available, allowing users to pay for services with ELSA points. However, this is currently limited to internal BRIN users and research collaboration centres.

A third access mechanism involves submitting a proposal to the Infrastructure Committee, which, if accepted, will be facilitated by BRIN’s Directorate of Laboratory Management. “These access schemes are designed to make the Sequencing Lab more accessible to researchers,” Rifki noted.

Anik Budhi Damayanti, a researcher at the BRIN Biosystematics and Evolution Research Centre and Manager of the BRIN Sequencing Centre Laboratory, provided further insights into the lab’s services. She described the comprehensive facilities available, including rooms dedicated to DNA and RNA extraction and various sequencing platforms such as genetic analysers (Applied Biosystems), Illumina sequencing platforms (NovaSeq, NextSeq, MiSeq), MGI, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (PromethION).

Researchers can submit samples via the website https://elsa.brin.go.id/ and contact the sequencing laboratory through email at pusatsekuensing@brin.go.id or by phone at +62 811-9811-577.

The advanced digital technology and comprehensive services provided by BRIN’s Sequencing Lab are crucial for supporting genomic research in Indonesia. This facility not only enhances data acquisition but also ensures that the resulting data contribute to a national scientific repository, fostering research in health, agriculture, and beyond through advanced sequence analysis techniques and genome mining.

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