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NHGRI Grants $14M for New $1,000 Genome Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Human Genome Research Institute said today that it has doled out $14 million in new grants to accelerate development of new technologies intended to bring the cost of genome sequencing down to $1,000 or less.

These nine Revolutionary Genome Sequencing Technologies grants will fund projects using graphene, fluorescent amino acid probes, nanopore and nanosensor-based tools, and other innovations to lower the expense of DNA sequencing.

"As genome sequencing costs continue to decline, researchers and clinicians can increase the scale and scope of their studies," NHGRI Director Eric Green said in a statement. "We will continue to fund innovative research to accelerate what is known about the genomic basis of human health and disease."

NHGRI launched efforts to improve and reduce the cost of DNA sequencing tools in 2004, and in 2009 the program hit the milestone of producing genome sequencing of around 6 billion base pairs for $100,000. Now, NHGRI said, new next-generation sequencing tools have brought that cost down to under $20,000.

This round of grants includes:

• $3.6 million to Mark Akeson of the University of California, Santa Cruz to optimize processive enzymes for DNA sequencing using nanopores (with collaborator Oxford Nanopore);

• $608,000 to Wayne Barnes of Washington University in St. Louis to study fluorescent amino acid probe of template-strand bases;

• $1.5 million to Marija Drndic of the University of Pennsylvania to use single-layer graphene nanoribbons with nanopores for DNA sequencing;

• $829,000 to Mark Kokoris of Stratos Genomics to develop sequencing by expansion technology;

• $1.4 million to Stuart Lindsay of Arizona State University to use recognition tunneling to optimize sequencing;

• $499,000 to Marian Mankos of Electron Optica to use a low energy electron microscope for DNA sequence imaging;

• $1.8 million to Jay Shendure of the University of Washington for massively parallel contiguity mapping;

• $616,000 to Steven Soper of Louisiana State University A&M College to develop polymer-based modular systems with nanosensors for DNA and RNA sequencing;

• $916,000 to Bharath Takupalli of Arizona State University to use nanopores to recognize chemicals in the DNA sequencing process.

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