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SickKids Wins $8.8M Grant for Autism Genomics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) will use a new CA$8.9 million (US$8.8 million) grant from the Ontario Research Fund's Ministry of Research and Innovation to conduct genomic sequencing studies of autism spectrum disorders.

The grant from the Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences (GL2) will support a study aimed at developing new tools to screen genomes and new technologies for diagnosing ASD and other neurological disorders, SickKids said today.

In addition to the government funding, SickKids also will receive a new SOLiD DNA sequencer from Life Technologies that is valued at around $700,000.

This project will build on previous research that identified copy number differences that are involved in ASD susceptibility, and it will involve sequencing genes from thousands of ASD patients in Ontario.

"Our goal is to bring our gene discoveries from the research labs to clinics, which we believe will facilitate the necessary early diagnosis critical for successful intervention in ASD," Stephen Scherer, a senior scientist at SickKids, said in a statement.

Scherer said that the grant and the collaboration with Life Technologies "is a wonderful example of how collaboration with government and industry partners could help achieve the ultimate goal of easing the lifelong challenges faced by ASD families."

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