454 Life Sciences and the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis Announce Collaborative Research Plan


454 Life Sciences Corporation, a majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation , and the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at Washington University School of medicine in St. Louis announced a collaborative research plan to sequence disease-causing pathogens and to sequence RNA to analyze gene activity in tissue samples.

Under the first part of the collaborative research plan, scientists at the GSC and 454 Life Sciences will utilize 454 Life Sciences' Genome Sequencer 20 System to sequence and analyze the genomes of disease-causing pathogens. By understanding the genomic variations among similar pathogens it is hoped that clinicians may be able to better diagnose, treat, or prevent infections.

"Data on small genetic differences between isolates of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens can be key to understanding changes in virulence, infectivity, antibiotic resistance and other factors important to the control and treatment of disease," said Elaine Mardis, co-director of the Genome Sequencing Center. "We will utilize these instrument systems to conduct collaborative research with 454 Life Sciences and in production alongside our existing technology to generate sequencing data for a variety of ongoing projects."

In a second project, scientists at the GSC, 454 Life Sciences and Washington University School of Medicine will sequence RNA to assess the expression profiles of genes in mammalian cells and tissues. A cell typically uses a fraction of its genes to make proteins at any given time and this selective gene expression results in cells taking on specialized characteristics. 454 Life Sciences' technology has superior sensitivity to enable in-depth studies of RNA and expression profiles, which may be useful for identifying novel drug targets and biomarkers for disease diagnosis.

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