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NCGR Shopping for Next-Gen Sequencing Tools to Outfit New Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Center for Genomic Resources in Santa Fe, NM, plans to start an in-house next-generation sequencing operation that will focus on medical re-sequencing projects and on organisms that affect agriculture in the New Mexico region, an NCGR official told GenomeWeb News yesterday.

NCGR President Stephen Kingsmore said the center has received funding for a new sequencer, and is considering platforms from a number of vendors, including those by 454 Life Sciences, Solexa, and Applied Biosystems.

Known primarily as a center for bioinformatics research, NCGR has received $600,000 in state funding to establish the center and is seeking another $1.1 million in federal funds.

“Medical resequencing is a natural extension of 14 years of experience by NCGR in software development for DNA sequence analysis,” Kingsmore said in a statement last week.

The NCGR will focus on medical re-sequencing to study human diseases and characteristics of crops prevalent in New Mexico, such as soybeans and peanuts. Two years ago NCGR received $1.2 million to build a database of legume information and bioinformatics and software from the US Department of Agriculture.

Kingsmore also said the first resequencing project on NCGR’s plate probably will have to do with genomic analysis of schizophrenia patients. NCGR has joined the MIND institute, a multi-regional study that has assembled a database of schizophrenia taken from 250 subjects.

New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, who helped the center secure funding when it started in 1994, is a former chairman of two Department of Energy committees, and Kingsmore said he will petition Washington for the federal money.