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Life Tech Adds New Contest to its Grand Challenge

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies today announced it has expanded its Life Grand Challenges competition to include a contest to use the 5500 Series SOLiD platform to sequence the genome and all RNA content derived from a single cancer cell.

The latest $1 million challenge, which is part of the $7 million contest announced in December, is "to unlock science's ability to understand the cell-to-cell genetic differences within a tumor," Life Tech said in a statement. The first three challenges ae focused on Ion semiconductor sequencing using the Ion Torrent platform. The fourth challenge is focused on SOLiD sequencing and the remaining three challenges will be related to other Life Technologies products and will be announced later in 2011, the firm said.

While the SOLiD has been used to sequence the entire transcriptome of a single mouse cell, the entire genome of one cell has yet to be sequenced, the company noted.

"Successful achievement of this latest Grand Challenge will, therefore, double what is currently possible by sequencing both the entire genome and all RNA, including mRNA, microRNAs and other types of RNA molecules expressed in a single cancer cell, using the SOLiD System," Life Tech said.

Results will need to be validated using an alternative method, such as quantitative PCR or capillary electrophoresis sequencing.

The judges for this challenge are Tim Hunkapiller, founder, president and CSO of Discovery Biosciences; Kai Lao, principal scientist of molecular biology for Life Tech; Joe Beechem, head of advanced research of single molecule sequencing for the Genetic Systems Division of Life Tech; and Mahendra Rao, vice president of R&D in stem cells and regenerative medicine for Life Tech.

The company will release additional information about the challenge, including terms and conditions, by the end of the first quarter.

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