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UK Grants Nearly $6M for North/East England High-throughput Hubs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The United Kingdom has granted a total of £3.9 million ($5.8 million) to the University of Liverpool and to the Babraham Institute to start two high-throughput genomics hubs as part of a three-prong program to enhance the country's DNA sequencing resources.

The University of Liverpool will use £2.2 million ($3.3 million) from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Northwest Regional Development Agency to establish a high-throughput genomic analysis hub in the North of England as part of an effort to increase the nation's genomics resources and to advance academic medical science, the university said today.

£2 million came from the MRC and £200,000 came from the Northwest Regional Development Agency. The initiative is part of a £7 million effort to support hubs in North and East England, and in Scotland.

These high-throughput centers will be available for use by all academic researchers in the UK.

This Northern hub will consolidate resources from four partner universities: Manchester, Sheffield, Lancaster, and Liverpool.

Supported in part by the Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust, this hub will conduct tumor sequencing studies, and will pursue research into genetic susceptibility and personalized medicine.

In a separate announcement, the Babraham Institute said today that it is using its £1.65 million ($2.5 million) grant to start a genome sequencing facility through a partnership with the University of Cambridge's Centre for Trophoblast Research. Funding for this center came from MRC and from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

"There is a pressing need to understand the basis of genetic variation and to use it to define the most appropriate treatment for each patient with a particular condition," Professor Neil Hall, of the School of Biological Sciences and a principal investigator at the North of England hub, said in a statement. "Such research will benefit greatly from the new hub in the North of England by allowing much more productive sequencing technologies to be made available across the research community."

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