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UK Biotech Group Contributes $74M to EU Systems Bio Initiatives

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — A group of European nations are firing up a new multinational initiative to fund projects that apply systems biology principles to the study of single-cell animals, a UK research group said yesterday.
 
The UK-based Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council contributed ₤37.4 million ($74 million) to the projects, collectively called the Systems Biology of Microorganisms Program.
 
BBSRC said it will work with German and Dutch scientists to study the Clostridium acetobutylicum bacterium, which is used in the production of a potential biofuel called butanol.
 
The group said this bacterium also is a cause of hospital infections, and suggested the research may offer knowledge that could be useful in combating those as well.
 
Another study looks into extremophiles to try to learn more about how temperature affects the biological pathways inside these organisms. 
 
And another project would study why “small genetic differences cause stark and important differences in species,” and would look in particular at Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Streptococcus pyogenes.
 
Though all of these bacteria convert sugar lactose into lactic acid, one causes toxic shock syndrome. 
 
Other nations involved in the project include Spain, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.

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