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Optical DNA Mapping


The human microbiome has been the topic of extensive research during the past decade due to its -still not fully understood- interplay in human health and disease. In order to monitor and/or modulate a persons’ microbiome, a reliable, affordable and fast methodology for microbiome profiling is crucial.


At Hofkens Lab, a metagenomic mapping method, named Fluorocode, was developed. Relying upon the use of methyltransferase enzymes and in-house developed fluorescently modified S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAM) cofactor analogues for the highly site-specific introduction of fluorescent markers on DNA, a ~35 kbp linear pattern (‘barcode’) is generated which can be resolved using fluorescence microscopy.


Through proprietary analysis code, these fluorescent barcodes are scanned and assigned to the source organism, as such profiling the microbial content of a sample with throughputs easily ranging in the gigabase scale.

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Related publications:

Goyvaerts, V., Van Snick, S., D'Huys, L., Vitale, R., Helmer Lauer, M., Wang, S., Leen, V., Dehaen, W., Hofkens J. Fluorescent SAM analogues for methyltransferase based DNA labeling. CHEMICAL COMMUNICATIONS.

Arno Bouwens, Jochem Deen, Raffaele Vitale, Laurens D’Huys, Vince Goyvaerts, Adrien Descloux, Doortje Borrenberghs, Kristin Grussmayer, Tomas Lukes, Rafael Camacho, Jia Su, Cyril Ruckebusch, Theo Lasser, Dimitri Van De Ville, Johan Hofkens, Aleksandra Radenovic, Kris Pieter Frans Janssen, Identifying microbial species by single-molecule DNA optical mapping and resampling statistics, NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics, Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2020, lqz007.

Mapping The Microbiome

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