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W.M. Keck Foundation funds study of friendly microbes

You could say that the Human Genome Project missed 99 percent of the genes in the adult body. That's because it didn't sequence genes belonging to the vast communities of bacteria that normally live on and in us.

Now a $1.45 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to researchers at the School of Medicine will help fill this gap by funding a study to develop new approaches for isolating, sequencing and analyzing the genomes of "friendly" bacteria that inhabit the intestine and identifying the natural metabolic products that they synthesize in their native gut habitats.

The W.M. Keck Foundation, established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company, focuses its grants on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering.

The grant supports a project led by Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., director of the Center for Genome Sciences (CGS) at Washington University in St. Louis, and reflects a partnership between his lab, the lab of Sean Eddy, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics, and members of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center.

The CGS is an innovative, interdepartmental, interdisciplinary enterprise strategically placed next to the Genome Sequencing Center. It is a major facet of the University's BioMed 21 initiative, which aims to translate genomic science into patient care. The CGS plays a catalytic role in helping to devise new ways to translate the genetic data obtained from genome sequencing projects to allow researchers to better understand the evolution and diversity of life on Earth, as well as help create new methods to diagnose and treat patients with common and uncommon diseases.

"The CGS represents a community of faculty and students with expertise in the biological, computational and physical sciences," Gordon says. "We are dedicated to integrating concepts and technologies from a variety of disciplines so that we can analyze the massive amounts of inform
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Source:Washington University in St. Louis


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