Biogazelle offers unique microRNA sequencing on challenging samples

on June 12, 2015

Biogazelle has a longstanding track record and internationally recognized expertise in RNA gene expression analysis, with a particular focus on non-coding RNA, such as microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs. Today, the service portfolio is extended with a unique offering, namely the use of massively parallel sequencing to quantify microRNAs in compromised samples characterized by degraded RNA or low output amounts of RNA.

Dr. Ariane De Ganck, Biogazelle’s Product Manager Transcriptome services:

“Few –if any- service providers offer small RNA or microRNA gene expression profiling using sequencing technologies on challenging samples such as body fluids and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues.”

Biogazelle has spent substantial research efforts to develop a state-of-the-art sequencing workflow and data-analysis pipeline to study microRNAs in challenging samples. Through a clever combination of optimal library preparation and purification, sequencing reads are actually spent on mature microRNAs, and not on undesirable contaminants such as ribosomal and other long RNA fragments. Further, raw data reads are processed and analyzed using Ant, Biogazelle’s custom small RNA-sequencing analysis pipeline, part of Cobra, its RNA-sequencing data analysis platform

MicroRNAs form excellent biomarkers when studying body fluids or fixed tissues from patients. Because of their small size and being bound to proteins or inside extracellular vesicles, microRNAs remain relatively stable in compromised samples.

“Today, we started the roll out our microRNA saturation analysis program, which will help our customers to make an informed decision on how deep they need to sequence their sample to get the most out of it.” says De Ganck.

Participants of the program will be able to send a representative sample that will be sequenced at very high coverage, in order to determine the biomarker potential and optimal sequencing depth for future studies.

About RNA

RNA is a chemical substance that has played a central role in the origin of life on earth. Today, ribonucleic acid remains crucially important to understand health and disease. Historically, emphasis was put on the study of protein coding genes giving rise to messenger RNA. Recently, the scientific community has started to appreciate the full complexity of the transcriptome, with the emergence of non-coding RNA genes (such as microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs) that have outnumbered the mRNAs.

Deregulation of RNA expression is the hallmark of many diseases.  As such, RNA levels can be used to monitor health, predict disease and evaluate effectiveness of therapy. Crucially important, RNA is present in all living cells and body fluids such as serum, plasma, saliva, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. Biogazelle has carefully selected the best analytical platforms and software tools to offer tailored RNA gene expression services. The company focuses on challenging sample types in terms of compromised quality or low input availability (e.g. formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, and body fluids).

About Biogazelle

Biogazelle is a Ghent University spin-off founded in 2007 by prof. Jo Vandesompele and dr. Jan Hellemans. Biogazelle offers expert laboratory services (some of which under ISO 17025 accreditation) in the area of gene expression analysis. To this purpose, several state-of-the-art laboratory methods such as RNA sequencing and digital PCR are being used, complemented with custom developed unique software tools, including Cobra for RNA-sequencing and qbase+ for qPCR data-analysis.

Being at the forefront of the genomics revolution, Biogazelle is convinced that unraveling the coding and non-coding regions of the genome will lead to RNA targeted biomarkers and treatments for better healthcare. Its mission is to understand the transcriptome for next generation diagnostics and therapeutics through excellence in science and technology.

Biogazelle continues to build on its core values of collaboration, courage, passion and open communication.


Biogazelle NV –
office phone +32 9 245 96 43
Technologiepark 3, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium