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UC Irvine receives $2.18M to explore nano advancements in DNA sequencing
Date:10/1/2007

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 1, 2007 UC Irvines Henry Samueli School of Engineering has been awarded $2.18 million to blend traditional DNA sequencing techniques with cutting-edge nanotechnology to develop a faster and less costly method of analysis. The goal is to make DNA sequencing feasible as a routine part of health care.

If implemented, widespread DNA analysis could provide doctors with more resources to predict disease, prevent potential illness and better customize prescription medication to complement patients specific health and treatment needs.

UC Irvines three-year grant was awarded as part of a $15 million initiative by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to support the development of innovative technologies with the potential to drastically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing.

The institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced grants for eight researchers to develop genome sequencing technologies that could produce a total genetic composition of an individual for $1,000. UC Irvine received the second largest of these grants.

Three additional researchers were funded to work on nearer-term technologies that could sequence a genome for $100,000. Currently, it costs about $5 million to sequence DNA for humans and other mammals by painstakingly analyzing the 3 billion base pairs that comprise the building blocks of DNA. The process can take months to complete.

If we could make DNA sequencing and testing available for all patients during medical exams by taking a simple blood test, we could directly impact the future of health care and create opportunities to improve a patients quality of life, said H. Kumar Wickramasinghe, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and the Henry Samueli endowed chair, who is leading this research at UC Irvine.

Wickramasinghe will work with Robert K. Moyzis, a professor in UC Irvines Department of Biological Chemistry
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Contact: Jason Mednick
jmednick@uci.edu
949-824-5951
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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