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Celera Announces Assembly of Mouse Genome

NEW YORK, Feb 12 - In a squeak barely audible under the buzz of its human genome publication announcement, Celera said Monday that it has completed an initial assembly of the mouse genome using its whole genome assembly method.

The company, which began sequencing the mouse last April, said it has sequenced 15.8 million base pairs for 5.5X, or 99 percent, coverage of the genome for t hree strains of mouse: the 129/SvJ, DBA/2J, and A/J strains.  

The company will now begin annotating the genome and will refine the assembly. The mouse database, which is available to academic and commercial subscribers, includes a mouse-human overlay of conserved regions.

Celera also has located numerous SNPs among the three mouse strains. It previously said it would compile these into a mouse SNP database that researchers who subscribe to Celera’s data can use to make sense out of their genomic data.

In October, when the company announced it had reached at milestone of 9.3 million base pairs of the mouse genome, it said it would rely mainly on sequence data from a rival public-private consortium to finish the project.

This consortium, whose members include MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and the Sanger Center in the UK, began sequencing the C57BL6/J mouse, commonly called “Black 6,” in October.

This consortium initially said it would have 2.5X to 3X coverage of about 95 percent of the unassembled mouse genome by this February, but so far has made no official announcement of its progress.

Unofficially, researchers at the Sanger Center have said they are finished with their portion of the mouse genome.

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