Earlham Institute taps New England Biolabs® to tackle RNA from challenging sample types

07 June 2017

Ipswich, MA, USA and Norwich, UK (June 7th, 2017) – In its mission to tackle global challenges through life science research, the Earlham Institute (Norwich, UK) faces unique problems raised through the sheer breadth of biological samples that it works with.

Ipswich, MA, USA and Norwich, UK (June 7th, 2017) – In its mission to tackle global challenges through life science research, the Earlham Institute (Norwich, UK) faces unique problems raised through the sheer breadth of biological samples that it works with.

Samples that the institute processes can come from any number of species of plant, animal, or microbial organism. For certain plant species, this can be particularly challenging due to the inherent nature of nucleic acids that are extracted, specifically RNA that is used for next-generation sequencing applications. Processing these samples has been problematic, and commercially available approaches have fallen short of producing high quality libraries from particular species, thus limiting scientists’ ability to study them fully. 

New England Biolabs (Ipswich, MA) had these specific challenges in mind when they were developing the recently released NEBNext® Ultra™ II Directional RNA Library Prep Kit for Illumina® sequencing. “Speaking with scientists around the world, one of the consistent messages we received was that RNA samples continue to present challenges for next generation sequencing analysis in being of extremely low input, and highly sensitive to the variety of contaminants derived from both the organisms themselves, but also the wide range of approaches used to extract RNA from cells”, stated Fiona Stewart, Ph.D., NEBNext Product Portfolio Manager for New England Biolabs. The NEBNext Ultra II Directional RNA kit is capable of producing high quality libraries across a broad range of RNA inputs, from 5 ng up to 1 µg of total RNA, and is compatible with ribosomal RNA (rRNA) depletion or poly(A) enrichment.

After hearing about the new kit from New England Biolabs, the Earlham Institute were keen to test its capability with samples that they knew would be difficult. According to Leah Clissold, Platforms & Pipelines Team Leader at The Earlham Institute, “We trialed NEB’s Ultra II Directional RNA Library Prep Kit using three plant species that have previously been problematic with other RNA-seq kits. We were thrilled with how well and how consistently this kit performed. The NEBNext® Poly(A) mRNA Magnetic Isolation Module was also effective and SortMeRNA showed that we had less than 2% contamination for each plant species. The strand specificity was also good at 98%.” 

The Institute is currently in the process of transferring the protocol to their production portfolio as part of the BBSRC National Capability in Genomics and Single-Cell Analysis.

For more details about the NEBNext Ultra II Directional RNA Library Prep and the NEBNext Ultra II RNA Library Prep products, visit UltraIIRNA.com

Notes to editors.

Notes to editors.

Notes to Editors

New England Biolabs® and NEBNext® are registered trademarks of New England Biolabs, Inc.

Ultra™ is a trademark of New England Biolabs, Inc.

Illumina® is a registered trademark of Illumina, Inc.

For more information, please contact:


Deana D. Martin, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Marketing Communications
New England Biolabs

240 County Road Ipswich, MA 01938
Email: martin@neb.com

  • 978-380-7464

About Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a world-leading research institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. EI is based within the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) - £6.45M in 2015/2016 - as well as support from other research funders. EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

EI offers a state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a training programme through courses and workshops, and an outreach programme targeting key stakeholders, and wider public audiences through dialogue and science communication activities.


About New England Biolabs®

Established in the mid 1970's, New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR and qPCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics development. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and seven subsidiaries located in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs visit www.neb.com.