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Peoples Genetics, PubGene Release Melting Map of Human Genome

NEW YORK, Feb. 3 - Peoples Genetics and PubGene have jointly developed a "melting" map of the human genome-a map that allows scientists to better search for inherited mutations related to common diseases, the companies said today.


The map provides the melting temperatures of different sequences in the human genome, and will soon be freely accessible to researchers worldwide on a website the companies plan to launch, said William Thilly of Peoples Genetics.


The map is based on work by numerous scientists that have predicted the behavior of large biopolymers such as DNA using applied statistical mechanics. Thilly, a professor at MIT, said that the companies agreed to develop this map last August as part of a larger collaboration.


Peoples Genetics, based in Woburn, Mass., is developing the technology to locate disease-causing gene mutations from extraordinarily large populations. In October 2002 the company received a $2 million grant from the US Department of Commerce's Advanced Technology Program, subsequent to releasing its first-generation edition of its search tool.


PubGene, of Oslo, Norway, provides informatics tools for text-mining of scientific literature for genomics and proteomics information.


PubGene said it plans to add this new layer of information to its analytical software package, and to jointly develop software with Peoples Genetics that enables scientists at Peoples Genetics to select reagents in order to analyze low-frequency mutations.


Peoples Genetics, according to Thilly, is able to pick up point mutations, insertions and deletions in populations--down to plus-one, minus-one mutations--that have a frequency as low as one in a million. The 12-person company, he said, is in discussions with numerous pharmaceutical companies for collaborations as it develops its technology for mutation scanning over the next 18 to 36 months.



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