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Life Technologies, EdgeBio Team with VCU on Schizophrenia Markers

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies will partner with EdgeBio and Virginia Commonwealth University in a project that will study how gene regulation and epigenetic markers may be involved in the development of schizophrenia.

The research will involve using Life Technologies' SOLiD System and MethylMiner methylated DNA enrichment kit to conduct genome-wide sequencing and methylation studies of 1,500 individuals, the company said today.

EdgeBio will use the MethylMiner to enrich genome samples for methylated DNA, and it will sequence the resulting libraries using the SOLiD system. VCU researchers will analyze the data EdgeBio generates.

The first part of the study will use this whole-genome search approach to find methylated markers associated with schizophrenia, and afterward VCU scientists will continue studying the most promising markers from an additional 1,600 patients and controls.

"For the first time with this research, scientists will study epigenetics population-wide in a complex disease," John Miller, president of Life Technologies' Genetic Systems Division, said in a statement. "This study in particular has significant implications for the development of personalized genomic medicine, and we look forward to seeing the results of this research."

"DNA methylation studies represent a particularly promising approach to complement traditional genetic studies of schizophrenia," said Edwin van den Oord, director of VCU School of Pharmacy's Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine. "Methylation sites are also excellent new drug targets that are accessible at the stable DNA level, making them potentially easy to use in clinical settings to improve diagnosis and individualize drug treatment."