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DOE Stimulus Bucks to Buy Sequencing, Informatics Tools

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb news) – The US Department of Energy will fund new genomics, bioinformatics, and molecular biology research into biofuels and biomass using some of the money from a $327 million funding blast from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that is tabbed for new research equipment purchases.

DOE said last week that it will use the stimulus funding to support the acquisition of research equipment upgrades, including $13.1 million for the Joint Genome Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, $4 million for new tools at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, and $3.2 million for the DOE BioEnergy Research Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

JGI will use around $11 million to build up its IT infrastructure and for equipment purchases, including computing, storage, and networking capabilities.

Around $1.1 million will go to buy sequencing reagents for use in three plant genome sequencing programs, and it will use around $1 million to buy next-generation sequencing technologies. All of this research at JGI is focused on identifying plant traits that facilitate the conversion to carbon-neutral biofuels.

ORNL will use the $3.2 million for development of computerized knowledgebase systems to integrate data from DOE-supported genomics and systems biology research.

"These new initiatives will help to create new jobs while allowing the US to maintain its scientific leadership and economic competitiveness," DOE Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. "The projects provide vital funding and new tools for research aimed at strengthening America's energy security and tackling some of science's toughest challenges."

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