The first Human Genome Project (HGP) publication marked a crucial step toward understanding and treating human disease. Mapping the full human epigenome will result in a similar accomplishment.
Epigenetic research tools have evolved over time from PCR gel analysis to qPCR to the analyses of large sets of sequencing data. ChIP sequencing (ChIP-Seq) has now been established as a standard method for chromatin studies, given the accuracy of the approach over other methods. Successful ChIP-Seq, however, requires a higher level of experimental accuracy and consistency in all steps of ChIP than ever before. Particularly crucial is the quality of ChIP antibodies.
When asked about how they choose their ChIP antibody of interest, researchers often point to their prior experiences with the antibody, comparative results, and well-cited products. However, researchers may not necessarily be satisfied with antibody performance. Oftentimes, they must optimize each and every ChIP assay with a suboptimal antibody simply to maintain "consistency" in future experiments even if better antibodies become available.
How did Diagenode address this quality problem?
Involvement in the academic network
Diagenode is a strong player in the growing epigenetic scientific community, collaborating with world-class research organizations such as University of xxx (Bernstein), UC Davis, California, or Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI). Diagenode is a key partner in many active epigenetic consortiums such as:
Generating 100 reference epigenomes of hematopoietic cells from healthy individuals and from leukeaemic counterparts.
Defining biomarkers for identification of hepatocellular carcinoma patients with poor prognosis and novel genetic and epigenetic drivers.
Defining the epigenome in genetic pathologies resulting from mutations in structural components of chromatin (chromatin diseases).
Optimizing random amplification of immunoprecipitated DNA, antibody production and validation.
Providing epigenetic research with high throughput technology on a genome-wide scale.
Defining and validating the concept of "epigenetic cancer treatment.
Using Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) in cancer for better clinical management.
In all of our collaborations, we are committed to use our state-of-the-art technologies to provide reference workflows and develop experimental and computational methods to improve detection, throughput, consistency, data analysis, storage, and retrieval. Diagenode has manufactured, quality-verified, and validated hundreds of polyclonal antisera and selected a fraction of them as actual high quality standards. Our online catalogue offers the highest quality antibodies available on the market and is only a small fraction of our larger antibody collection.
Diagenode's selection of antibodies is exclusively dedicated for epigenetics research. We assign our R&D and production experts to continually deliver novel antibodies of the highest quality. The current collection targets histone modifications, chromatin associated proteins, and modified bases of the DNA.
Among 200 antibodies today (November 2011), more than 91 are ChIP-Grade. An additional 16 are ChIP-seq Grade. We regularly release new antibodies for sale upon validation with our continual antibody validation program. Check out Diagenode's antibody web pages (or search engine) to see if your favorite target has made the list.
Strict quality standards
As our partners and clients require ALL information about an antibody to be available, we indicate all specifications on our technical data sheets. Only data generated internally or by official partners are considered acceptable. A bioinformatics QC pipeline is set up to 1) constantly control and objectively evaluate every step of the antibody production workflow and 2) facilitate improvements in our processes. We pay particular attention to the lot-to-lot variations and thus keep track of every lot in order to make them comparable.
Robust and standardized production
In our pursuit of achieving the highest quality, Diagenode only uses thoroughly tested and validated methods for antibody development and production. The standardized methods provide uniform conditions, which in turn guarantees high product quality without technical bias.
We apply the same quality standards to our bioinformatics. The robust QC pipeline incorporates only well-established, properly tested informatics elements to analyze information from all possible sources to evaluate antibodies.
Diagenode has developed innovative tools such as DNA and chromatin shearing equipments (Bioruptor®), automated devices (IP-Star® automated workstation), and new, innovative reagents that we established as standards for Next Generation Sequencing. We acquired different sequencing platforms (e.g. Illumina GAII and Ion Torrent's PGMTM) to provide better products and customer support for a variety of NGS users, as we can perform every ChIP-Seq step at Diagenode using the same tools as our customers. We can provide expert support from sample preparation to data analysis. For the latter we also constructed a powerful bioinformatics system that includes optimized software tools for the above mentioned sequencers, from base calling through reference alignment to peak detection and extended tertiary analysis.
That is a huge investment in time and material resources, but this enables us to select only the best performing candidates.
Expert technical support
The Diagenode marketing, sales, and technical teams consist of experts with actual epigenetics bench experience. Our team's expertise is unmatched as we provide quick and expert advice for the optimization of manual or automated epigenetic assays.
Next time you have a question about your epigenetic assay, let us know! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for North and South America, or email@example.com for EU and the rest of the world.
The Diagenode team organizes trainings and workshops on a regular basis. If you are interested, please contact us at the above contact information.