What is whole exome sequencing?
Identifying the DNA sequence of all the protein-coding genes in a genome is called whole exome sequencing (WES). This is a targeted next generation sequencing method
using hybridization capture. This
next generation sequencing approach uses parallel sequencing, providing a faster turnaround time than Sanger sequencing or shotgun sequencing. Exome sequencing panels can be expanded to include noncoding genes and other genetic elements that are
relevant to cancer.
What can whole exome sequencing do?
WES reveals mutations in disease-associated genes. Therefore, it could:
- Inform patient risk of developing specific types of cancer
- Provide a clearer picture of genetic abnormalities that effect tumor progression, like microsatellite instability, to aid prognosis
- Help clinicians use precision medicine to decide how to treat a patient’s cancer
Benefits of whole exome sequencing for cancer research
Using NGS technology gives researchers more comprehensive data and more discovery power than can be achieved through PCR. In cancer research, comprehensive data is used for tumor profiling. Deeper sequencing enables more sensitive somatic mutation
detection. WES also provides the opportunity for greater discovery power for revealing heritable mutations compared to PCR. WES is provided at a lower cost with a faster analysis time than WGS. WES using NGS also has a faster turnaround time
than other types of sequencing like Sanger or shotgun sequencing.