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EU Grants $4.3M for Laser ChIP Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The European Commission has granted €2.9 million ($4.3 million) to a multi-national effort to develop laser-based technologies and tools for use in genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses, which are used to understand regulatory circuits that control development.

Led by the Second University of Naples, the ATLAS consortium includes partners in Spain, France, Romania, Lithuania, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

To date, the most commonly used method is immunoprecipitation of chemically cross-linked chromatin coupled with analysis using DNA tiling arrays or parallel single-molecule sequencing, according to a recently published funding announcement.

However, these methods are limited and cannot be used to study factor-DNA interaction studies at dynamic ranges below minutes or study samples of fewer than 106 cells or cell populations within complex biological samples, according to the announcement.

The consortium will develop lasers that could induce DNA crosslinking for ChIP analyses of high precision and reproducibility, and extend the time range of such studies.

The ATLAS consortium also will validate LaserChIP (LChIP) technologies and integrate them with irradiated frozen tissue slices and microfluidic cell sorting systems.

Combining LChIP tools with proximity ligation will be used to analyze cell-selective epigenetic programs using small cell populations, down to the single-cell level.

The EU said in its announcement that the consortium has the technical and commercial expertise and capacities to develop and commercialize the laser-based ChIP technologies.

The entire project is expected to last through 2012 and is expected to cost around €3.8 million.

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