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NHGRI Awards UC Irvine $2.2M for Nano-enhanced Sanger Sequencing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The University of California, Irvine, will use a $2.18 million award from the National Human Genome Research Institute to develop technology that blends Sanger sequencing with nanotechnology and would lower the price of sequencing a human genome to $1,000, the university said today.
The three-year grant to the Henry Samueli School of Engineering is part of NHGRI’s “Revolutionary Genome Sequencing Technologies” program, which aims to accelerate the development of technologies that would make genomic sequencing a feasible tool for clinical medicine.
NHGRI in mid-September said it will dole out more than $20 million in fiscal 2008 for a number of near-term and longer-term projects that will help lower the cost of sequencing a human genome to below $100,000 and $1,000, respectively. 
The UC Irvine technology, developed by electrical engineering and computer science professor Kumar Wickramasinghe, is based on a DNA-separation method that uses an atomic force microscope.
The method involves mapping DNA using a light concentrated at a probe that is only around 50 atoms wide at its tip, which will require “substantially less time to sort, analyze and then map DNA” than conventional Sanger sequencing, UC Irvine said.
Robert Moyzis, bioinformatics coordinator at UC Irvine’s Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics, will work with Wickramasinghe on the project.  

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