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European Consortium Launches $15M Project to Develop New DNA Analysis Tools

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of 16 European academic and commercial organizations today kicked off a four-year project aimed at developing new DNA sequencing technologies and other methods for analyzing DNA and other nucleic acids.
 
The Revolutionary Approaches and Devices for Nucleic Acid Analysis, or READNA, consortium involves researchers from ten academic institutions, three small or medium enterprises, and three large companies. Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Applied Biosystems, Febit, Olink Bioscience, and Philips Research are among those participating in the project.
 
The effort will receive €12 million ($15 million) in funding from European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, the EU’s main research funding body, through May 2012.
 
The consortium is focused on developing fast and cost-effective sequencing methods, improving existing sequencing technology, developing high-resolution techniques for assessing genome-wide methylation, assessing rare mutations and copy number variations, and analyzing RNA and DNA using a single device.
 
In particular, READNA is focused on advancing sequencing technologies that will enable the sequencing of a human genome for €1,000.
 
“The project is designed to further medical science and ultimately to drive improved health outcomes,” project coordinator Ivo Gut, director of the Centre National de Genotypage, said in a statement. “We will focus on the development of new nucleic acid technologies, and also improve existing ones.”
 
Oxford Nanopore Technologies announced separately that it will receive €730,000 in grants under the READNA project to help develop an early exonuclease/nanopore DNA sequencing system. It will also work towards integrating protein nanopores and solid-state materials to advance its nanopore sequencing effort and hopes to apply nanopores to genome-wide methylation studies and droplet-based bilayer arrays for multiplexed genotyping.
 
As part of the consortium, the company will collaborate with several researchers at the University of Oxford, including Oxford Nanopore founder Hagan Bayley. For its part, the University will receive €2 million in READNA funding.
 
Specific funding amounts were not available for the other participants in the consortium.

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