Twist Bioscience
July 23, 2020
7 min read

Saliva sample to sequencer in under 8 hours

Development of an 8-hour saliva sequencing workflow. Start the day with a saliva sample, and end the day with the samples on a sequencer!
Image of oral sample testing

The following blog was written by Scott Rabuka, and originally posted to The Genetic Link, a blog by DNA Genotek.

A new solution to a workflow challenge with Twist Bioscience

It's no secret that the global genomics market has grown in recent years. Growth is often accompanied by new challenges and higher expectations. Genomics laboratories can attest to this as many are in the midst of searching for innovative solutions to increase the speed at which they can process samples while maintaining their quality of work.


We at DNA Genotek began collaborating with Twist Bioscience, a manufacturer of synthetic DNA, on an end-to-end solution to address time-consuming and costly Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) laboratory workflows. This blog specifically highlights our efforts around improving the workflow for DNA isolation through targeted enrichment and whole exome sequencing.


The goal of this collaboration was to achieve a single day workflow ‑ sample to sequencer in under 8 hours ‑ and more importantly, do so without sacrificing quality or performance.


We at DNA Genotek targeted an 8-hour workflow so technicians could start their day with a saliva sample in hand, and leave at the end of their day with the samples on a sequencer.


Locating the bottleneck and addressing the problem

We began examining a typical DNA sample processing workflow with an eye on where we could improve the DNA isolation process. We concluded that sample preparation, quantification and normalization added significant time to the workflow and that we would need to reduce the duration of these steps to have a meaningful impact on the overall workflow.


This would require the development of an innovative new reagent. We were successful in this endeavor and have launched prep•IT Q2A which enables a rapid, liquid-based removal of inhibitors found in Oragene® and ORAcollect® saliva samples. The protocols are adaptable for manual or automated processing with a preparation time of only 30 minutes.


Workflow comparison between PrepIT Q2A and a typical DNA extraction column. PrepIT Q2A takes 30 mins, traditional methods take 120 mins


While we addressed the upstream workflow, Twist focused their efforts on the downstream. Twist quickly recognized that its 16-hour hybridization was the longest step of the 2-day process and targeted it for improvement. Out of those development efforts, the new Twist Fast Hyb Kit was born. This new product was designed specifically to reduce the lengthy hybridization step to as little as 15 minutes.


Expedited hybridization workflow with Fast Hyb. One-day workflow with Fast Hyb takes 5 hours. 2-day workflows take over 19 hours with the majority of the time being spent on hybridization


How much faster was this new end-to-end solution?

Bringing together our expertise in DNA from saliva isolation and Twist’s Fast Hyb kit and targeted enrichment technology, we were able to shave over 24 hours off the overall workflow to deliver a streamlined, 8 hour, workflow.


The complete DNA Genotek+Twist worklow takes a sample to sequencer in 8 hours


“Having the rapid, easy-to-use, robust, and automatable prepIT®•Q2A isolation upstream workflow for saliva DNA samples integrated into the Twist Bioscience fast enrichment system and targeted sequencing downstream enables a sample to be sequenced in one day with reliable quality.” – Bryan Hoglund, product manager at Twist Bioscience.


Another successful collaboration

We at DNA Genotek are happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Twist Bioscience and we look forward to learning how we can help implement this streamlined workflow in your lab.


prep•IT Q2A is now available. You can find more information on the prep•IT Q2A product page or email DNA Genotek at [email protected]


To learn more about Twist Bioscience NGS target enrichment solutions, visit here.



Cover image modified from @unitednations on Unsplash


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