New England Biolabs (NEB) announced the release of the NEBNext UltraExpress DNA and RNA Library Prep Kits for next-generation sequencing on the Illumina platform.

These new kits are designed to generate high-quality, high-yield libraries with a faster, easier workflow, enabling RNA library prep in a single day, and DNA library prep in under two hours, the company says. 

The kits are suitable for a wide range of inputs (25 -250 ng total RNA and 10 – 200 ng mechanically sheared DNA) and utilize a single protocol that uses the same adaptor concentration and PCR cycle number for all input amounts. The workflows are automation-friendly and minimize consumables waste.

“With labs doing sequencing more frequently and at higher throughputs than before, researchers need ways to do sequencing faster, while maintaining high-quality results,” says Fiona Stewart, associate director, NEBNext Portfolio Management, at NEB. “We designed the NEBNext UltraExpress workflows to meet the need for substantially faster and easier library prep of samples within a standard input range. The streamlined workflows, which include a single protocol for all inputs, with the same adaptor concentration and PCR cycle number, save time and eliminate end-user optimization. Additionally, we’ve incorporated master mix reagents, reduced incubation times, and have fewer cleanup steps so that researchers can complete the DNA workflow in less than two hours and the RNA library prep workflow in three hours.”

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Early access user Ravi Ranjan, PhD, a director at the Genomics Resource Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reported that he was pleased with the single-tube master mixes, reduced bead cleanups, and RNA input amounts, along with the time savings.

“I prepared RNA seq libraries from fungi total RNA in conjunction with the NEBNext Poly(A) mRNA Magnetic Isolation Module protocol. The workflow was easy to follow with great time savings, and libraries were of great quality,” Ranjan says.

The RNA kit creates high-quality directional RNA libraries when paired with poly(A) mRNA enrichment or rRNA depletion kits. The overall plastics usage also decreases significantly. Compared to the NEBNext Ultra II Directional RNA kit, NEBNext UltraExpress RNA uses 21% fewer tubes and 25% fewer tips. The NEBNext UltraExpress DNA kit also saves on consumables (33% fewer tubes and 32% fewer tips) and is a single-tube workflow. For both kits, flexibility is enabled with simple guidelines for customized protocols, if desired, and automation-friendly transfer volumes.