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UK to Invest $7.7M in Genomics Research, with a Focus on Projects Using High-Throughput Sequencing

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The UK's Technology Strategy Board said last week that it would invest up to £5 million ($7.7 million) in genomics-based research and development projects, particularly ones using high-throughput sequencing.

The board will begin taking proposals, which must be led by a business, on Oct. 12. After Nov. 18, a select group will be invited to submit full applications by Jan. 19, 2011, and a final decision will be made on Feb. 16.

The board said projects could cover a range of topics including the identification of economically important traits in livestock and crops, biomarker discovery, metagenomics, infectious disease, the development of vaccines and antimicrobials, and genetic improvements to commercially relevant organisms.

Additionally, all proposals must demonstrate commercial application as well as a "credible route to market."

Citing "amazing" technological progress in the field of genomics over the last decade, Ian Gray, chief executive of the strategy board, said in a statement that "the challenge for UK business is to capitalize on the opportunities provided by these technological advances."

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