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Population Genetics, U of Oxford Collaborate on Research for Myocardial Infarction, Diabetes

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Population Genetics has signed an agreement to provide researchers at the University of Oxford with genetic analyses for hypothetical validation and biomarker discovery.

Under the deal announced today, two research groups at the university will partner with Population Genetics and use the firm's technologies to study gene variants associated with myocardial infarction, diabetes, and metabolic disease.

In one study, a group led by Mark McCarthy, the Robert Turner professor of diabetes at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, will partner with Population Genetics on a study of 74 exons from 12 genes across 1,000 genomic DNA samples to identify genetic associations with diabetes and metabolic disease. The researchers will use Population Genetics' GenomePooling technology, which allows multiple genes and discontiguous regions of DNA to be simultaneously sequenced across entire populations while still being queriable to the level of the individual.

The research will also contribute to an initiative by the National Institute for Health Research to create an NIHR BioResource of volunteers for work that maps genotype to phenotype.

A second study headed by David Buck, head of high throughput genomics at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, will use Population Genetics' Reflex workflow to investigate 3,000 samples to identify genetic variants of candidate genes associated with myocardial infarction. The study is being done in collaboration with a European collaborative project called Procardis to study the molecular basis of coronary artery disease.

The Reflex method is for sequencing long contiguous regions across large populations in order to identify gene variants that correlate with phenotype.

"Population Genetics gives us an efficient way to validate hypotheses through identification of variants in candidate genes associated with common human diseases," McCarthy said in a statement. "This partnership will make a valuable difference in our ability to progress our studies toward clinical application."

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.