Bioinformatics in Burkina: Researchers trained in sequencing using Oxford Nanopore Technology

Constitute a critical mass of specialists capable of carrying out bioinformatics analyzes of data resulting from the sequencing of the Oxford Nanopore Technology. This is the meaning of the training initiated by the Joseph Ki-Zerbo University (UJKZ) and the National Center for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST) for the benefit of around thirty researchers from Burkina Faso and the sub-region. (Mali and Togo). The official opening ceremony was held on Monday, September 12, 2022, in the conference room of the Higher Institute of Population Sciences (ISSP).

Equipping researchers and students with the bioinformatics analysis of data from the sequencing of the Oxford Nanopore technology, such is the goal of this training session organized in the form of a series of activities. This, with the collaboration of the Institute of the environment and agricultural research (INERA) of Burkina Faso, the Institute of research for development (IRD within the framework of the observatory of phytopathogens in West Africa , LMI Patho Bios, but also with the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) and the contribution of research engineers Denis Filloux and Emmanuel Fernandez for practical training.

To do this, in addition to the international conference currently taking place on high-throughput sequencing using Oxford Nanopore technology by videoconference, two weeks of theoretical and practical learning on sequencing are planned at the INERA Kamboinsé laboratory and at the UJKZ.

Participants at the major conference on high-throughput sequencing by Oxford Nanopore technology

“We will take a sample of rice to extract the RNA which will then be sequenced using Oxford Nanopore technology”, briefly explained Martine Bangratz, research engineer and trainer at the IRD. It is a technology allowing in less than 48 hours to detect the infectious agent at the origin of the attack of any field, she added.

For Ms. Bangratz, if the sequencer, the material used by this technology is not difficult to use, it still requires prior training.

“There is a practical work part where we do analyzes and sequencing and there is a whole bioinformatics analysis that is done afterwards”, mentioned Martine Bangratz

According to Pr Martin Kiendrébéogo, representing the president of UJKZ, Oxford Nanopore sequencing technology can be applied to pathogens, SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viruses in Africa as well as to the annotation of complete genomes. Plant. This technology is also proving useful in the detection of cancer in humans.

“Difficulties had been noted in confirming the presence of COVID-19 in Burkina Faso. The Oxford Nanopore technology taught to participants today will therefore enable them to provide quality diagnostic results,” he said.

According to Martin Kiendrébéogo, vice-president of research and international cooperation of the UJKZ, the diagnosis of certainty requires the use of molecular technologies.

As a reminder, Bioinformatics, or bioinformatics, is a multidisciplinary field of biotechnology research in which biologists, doctors, computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists and bioinformaticians work together, with the aim of solving a scientific problem posed by biology. More generally, bioinformatics is the application of statistics and computer science to biological science. The specialist who works halfway between these sciences and computer science is called bioinformatician or bionaut.


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