Few laboratories have the space and resources to invest in next-generation sequencing equipment – but it’s hard to argue with the insight the technology offers. Science demands solutions and thankfully, there are options in this space too.
Outsourcing your DNA and RNA sequencing can be a smooth and efficient process — provided you choose a trusted, transparent partner. Secure yourself good value and top data quality by working through this priority checklist …
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The What, Where, When, How and Who…
Define your end goal.
Avoid confusion from day one by determining exactly what services/skills you’ll need to reach your goals, be it data for a regulatory submission, or results for an academic paper.
Understand your samples.
Next generation sequencing is amazing – but not magic. There’s a limit to the quality and quantity of data that can be achieved depending on your samples. Know what you have to prioritize to optimize your samples and maximize results.
Rank your priorities.
Will cost, turnaround time, or data quality be the deciding factor for your team? There are trade-offs with each choice.
Understand your needs.
As with samples, your team and facilities will have certain strengths and weaknesses. To get good value and quality results, you need to identify what you can do independently, what steps you’ll need assistance with, and which you’re better off outsourcing.
- Study design
- Sample prep (DNA/RNA extraction)
- Library Construction
- A specific kind of data delivery (cloud vs hard drive)
- Data analysis
- Data interpretation support
- Further support services
Evaluate technology being used.
Is it state-of-the-art, reliable and efficient? If you have a challenging sample this will be an important question.
Evaluate the customer support model.
Your experience – be it painless and rewarding, or stressful and disappointing – will largely depend on the people mediating the service. Will you have a designated point of contact at the company and will they be accessible?
Define the deliverable and associated guarantees.
Many companies talk the talk, but not all deliver on their promises. Be clear when setting expectations and research the steps a provider takes to guarantee their services and take responsibility for your work.