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Fraser Says TIGR on Track to Release B. Anthracis Gene Chip in 2005

This article has been been corrected to clarify the potential distribution model for the anthrax chip. 

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - (GenomeWeb News) - The Institute for Genomic Research and Affymetrix are one step closer to finishing a gene chip that may help scientists identify differences in closely related strains of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium responsible for anthrax, according to TIGR director Claire Fraser.

 

Fraser, speaking at the 16th Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference here yesterday, said researchers at TIGR and Affy have recently completed developing a 500,000-spot array that contains more than 3,400 SNPs.

 

Fraser told GenomeWeb News that TIGR is on track to offering a final version of the chip to investigators sometime in 2005 that is based on the genomes of at least 14 strains of B. anthracis.

 

"There is still a bit more validation to do on the 14 strains," said Fraser. "We are still working on some technical aspects."

 

The project is led by TIGR investigator Jacques Ravel, who replaced Timothy Read. The strains are part of a collection held by University of NorthernArizonamicrobiologist Paul Keim, a TIGR collaborator.

 

Since TIGR is a non-profit organization, it will not commercialize the chip. It is possible that the chips will be distributed in a similar fashion to a SARS chip that TIGR, Affy, and NIAID released last year. Under this scenario, NIAID would have the option of purchasing a limited number of chips from Affy, and possibly distribute those chips to eligible researchers through the Pathogen Functional Genomics Resource Center, an NIAID-funded center that is based at TIGR.

 

Fraser stressed that plans for distributing the anthrax chips have not yet been finalized, however.

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