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Beckman Coulter, Indiana U. Partner on Environmental Genomics Solutions

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Beckman Coulter and Indiana University's Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics today announced a collaboration to develop automated solutions for genomics to pinpoint toxins that may be harmful to the environment and humans.

The company and university are partnering to develop, validate, and implement protocols targeting the high-throughput genomics market, they said, adding that technologies and applications for environmental genomics research resulting from the collaboration could lead to transformative evaluation methods that today require large amounts of samples.

A major focus of the partnership is to improve automation tools for measuring gene expression in thousands of samples by high-density microarray and next-generation sequencing experiments. At the same time, the tools would increase efficiencies and reduce per-sample experiment costs and error rates.

The assays, the partners said, will provide information about the chemical effects on model species, such as the water flea Daphnia.

"By working together early in the development of new model systems and procedures that assess global variation in the genetic responses of natural populations to environmental change, we stand a better chance to significantly improve our ability to manage harmful substances in the environment," John Colbourne, director of IU's Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, said in a statement.

"We fully expect that this partnership with the CGB will help us identify potential applications for automated solutions, and that it will provide Beckman Coulter with greater insight into the challenges and needs of genomic research laboratories," added Brad Booze, director of product management in Beckman Coulter's Life Sciences division.

Financial and other terms of today's deal were not disclosed.

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