NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Illumina will provide its BeadStation to a large-scale genomics facility in Mexico City designed to continue and expand the work of the Mexican HapMap project, the company said today.
The National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) will use the Illumina hardware with IBM bioinformatics in SNP-genotyping and gene-expression studies to “characterize the genetic variation of the Mexican population,” the company said.
The data collected on the genomes of Mexicans will be used to “incorporate genomics into methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, to enhance genomics training and research, to educate the public, and to make available advances in technology," INMEGEN Director Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez said in a statement
Illumina said INMEGEN opened today one lab, housing a genotyping and gene expression-analysis unit to be stocked with the BeadStation, as part of what will be a 40,000-square-foot facility.
INMEGEN researchers will use that lab to genotype and analyze samples from 1,200 individuals from six different Mexican states.
"Based upon results from the second phase of the Mexican HapMap Project, we will be able to lay the foundation necessary to improve and accelerate the development of clinical genomic medicine," Jimenez-Sanchez said.
The decision to play south of the border is a change of strategy of sorts for Illumina, which said as recently as 2005 that the shops had “no plans” to supply customers in Mexico with large-scale genomic needs, according to GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication BioArray News.
BioArray News reported in August 2005 that while INMEGEN had deals in place with Affymetrix and ABI, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said the company “has no plans to begin expanding its sales and marketing efforts into Central and South America at this time.”
"[There isn't] much of a market in those countries for our arrays," Flatley had said.
Today, Flatley said Illumina is “excited” to provide INMEGEN’s “excellent research team the technology necessary to help accelerate genetic and genomic discovery in Mexico."