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Clemson Gets $1.3M NSF Grant for Sequencers, Mass Spec

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 (GenomeWeb News) - Clemson University's Genomics Center has received a $1.3 million federal equipment grant from the NSF, the university said late Thursday.


The grant, which will enable CUGI to purchase two new Applied Biosystems 3730 DNA sequencers and a Waters time-of-flight mass spectrometer, brings to $3.5 million the total grant funding the institute has received since the spring, according to Jeffrey Tomkins, the co-principal investigator on the grant. These include three NSF grants and one $200,00 grant from Cotton, Inc., an organization that supports the cotton industry.


The researchers will use the new equipment in their work on several sequencing and mapping projects: a six-university project to map the genome of the wild flower Mimulus, a model organism for plant adaptation to environmental stress; the peach genome project, and the cotton genome.  CUGI established its cotton center in 2002 to identify genetic information from cotton and make it freely available to scientists and to the cotton industry.


The group is going to use one of the new 3730s in its Mimulus work, "for a new fingerprinting technology for BAC  clones," Tomkins said. "BAC clones, or large insert clones are generally 100 to 200 kb in length, and typically [are found] by cutting with a single restriction enzyme, and running the fragments on an agarose gel. With the new technology, we can cut them with up to five restriction enzymes, dye label the fragments, and then run them on the new capillary sequencers," he explained. "Obviously, you get a lot more fragments, the data is a lot less error-prine, there are a lot [fewer] steps, and it's less hands-on."


For the cotton genome, they are "trying to create a sequenced tagged connector framework," Tomkins said. "We're also mining the data from microsattelites," which geneticists use for cultivation and study purposes.

Additionally, the group is sequencing the DNA in chloroplasts from a wide variety of plants with agricultural value, including soybean, cotton, sorghum, and others, Tomkins said.

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