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Singapore Team Finishes SARS Virus Genome; Canadian Scientists Identify Viral Proteins

NEW YORK, April 17 - As scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore became the fourth team to complete the sequence of the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome today, Canadian researchers have identified proteins derived from the viral genome.


The Singapore sequence was found to be "substantially identical" to three others reported earlier this week, according to a statement released by the institute. These other sequences were obtained by teams at: the British Columbia Cancer Center in Vancouver, Canada, the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and then, yesterday, the University of Hong Kong.


Meanwhile, researchers at the Manitoba Proteomics Center have taken the research a step further, using mass spectrometry to identify proteins from a viral isolate. One of these proteins is immunoreactive and may be a starting point for a drug or vaccine. (For the full story, see the article in next Monday's issue of ProteoMonitor .)


The Singapore sequence includes 29,513 nucleotides - 214 less than the one sequenced by the CDC. It is available on Genome Institute's website . Both the CDC and the BC Cancer Center  have also published their sequences online as well.


The differences in the nucleotide sequences "may represent natural genetic variations of virus in the field," and "these differences may have an impact on tracking the diseases in populations, and in strategies for developing vaccines," the institute statement said. The Genome Institute researchers plan to examine the variations further.  


The isolate that the Genome Institute of Singapore researchers sequenced came from one of the first patients, or "index cases," in Singapore . Ling Ai E and colleagues at Singapore General Hospital 's department of virology isolated the virus, and then grew it on monkey cells to produce enough genetic material to sequence. Ruan Yijun led the team of Genome Institute scientists, to sequence the virus in two and a half weeks.


GenomeWeb coverage of SARS
Canadian Team Sequencing SARS Virus  (Apr 9, 2003)

CDC Hails SARS Virus Sequencing, Discusses PCR Diagnostic Development   (Apr 14, 2003)

CDC Completes SARS Virus Genome Draft On Heels of Canadian Team  (April 14, 2003)

Canadian Team Leader: SARS Coronavirus Genome Has 11 Novel ORFs  (April 15, 2003)
CombiMatrix Creates Microarray Based on SARS Genome Data  (April 16, 2003)
Coronavirus Linked to SARS: WHO (April 16, 2003) 

Singapore Genome Institute Joins SARS Sequencing Fray (April 16, 2003)


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