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VIB and UZ-KU Leuven join forces and bring state-of-the-art technology to Flanders
Date:11/6/2007

Belgium - Flemish biotechnologists have a world-wide reputation for deciphering genetic code. In order to further strengthen this leading position, two Flemish research institutes are joining forces and bringing new technology to Flanders which will record DNA 100 times faster than current methods. This is an essential asset as these DNA analyses hold the key to the decipherment and treatment of genetic disorders.

Why decipher DNA?

The full DNA of an organism - the genome - determines what that organism looks like and how it functions. The better we understand this, the more we can learn about the intricacies of living beings. We know the broad outline of human DNA, and scientists are now determining the DNA differences between people. These differences characterise the diversity of people but they also hold the key to a higher risk for genetic disorders such as dementia, psychosis, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and cancer. If we know and understand the differences, we can also use them as the foundation for new treatments.

However, to record these differences efficiently, it is essential that everything moves much faster than the current technology allows. This has now become possible. So-called new generation sequence technology has recently been developed, but it is still very expensive.

Nevertheless, VIB and UZ.-K.U. Leuven have joined forces to give Flemish scientists access to this state-of-the-art technology. Via a co-ordinated investment program, they are bringing Roches DNA sequence technology platform, the so-called 454 sequencing, to Flanders.

What is 454 sequencing?

This technique provides an ingenious manner to super-efficiently decipher DNA code. DNA fragments are isolated in drops of water, which function as micro-reactors. Using these pieces of DNA, 10 million identical copies are made and they are simultaneously (but individually) sequenced. This is all done on a tablet the si
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Contact: Ann Van Gysel
info@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology
Source:Eurekalert

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