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NCGR, New Mexico Institute to Create Genome Sequencing Center in New Mexico

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Center for Genome Resources and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology today said they will team to create the New Mexico Genome Sequencing Center.
Based in Santa Fe at the NCGR’s headquarters, the new center has been funded in part by $600,000 from the state of New Mexico. As NCGR President Stephen Kingsmore told GenomeWeb News earlier this week, the center is seeking another $1.1 million in federal funds.
In a joint statement today NCGR and NMT said the center will be “the first in the nation to focus on medical re-sequencing.” Kingsmore said earlier this week it will focus on both human diseases and on agricultural genomics of particular interest to New Mexico and the surrounding region.
The center will “serve the needs of researchers at all New Mexico universities and research institutes … and will focus on problems that are important to New Mexicans," NMT President Daniel Lopez said in the statement.
Among its programs, the center will set out to sequence the genome of a pathogen that affects chile crops, and will participate in the Schizophrenia Genome Project. Sequencing the chile pathogen is being conducted through a collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute and 454 Life Sciences.
As GenomeWeb News reported Wednesday, Kingsmore said the center will use this first round of funding to buy a next-generation sequencer, and said that the NCGR is considering platforms from a number of vendors, including 454, Solexa, and Applied Biosystems.
Senator Peter Domenici (R- New Mex.), who sits on major subcommittees that control DOE appropriations, has been a strong supporter of the NCGR since its inception in 1994, and has been a vocal advocate for funding for mental health issues such as schizophrenia. The schizophrenia sequencing project, which will utilize data sets that NCGR has already pooled into a database, is a collaborative research partnership with the MIND Institute and with the University of New Mexico.  
Other funding sources for the center include the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

A comprehensive version of this article appears in the current issue of BioInform, a GenomeWeb News sister publication.

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