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UK's MRC Funds Fourth High-Throughput Sequencing Hub in Oxford with Over $3M


This article, originally published July 2, has been updated to include information from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics.

By Julia Karow

The UK's Medical Research Council said last month that it is funding a high-throughput sequencing center, based at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, with approximately £2 million ($3.3 million), adding to more than £7 million in funding for three other UK-based sequencing hubs that the MRC announced this spring.

In May, the MRC said it would invest more than £7 million ($10.7 million) into high-throughput sequencing facilities in Cambridge, Liverpool, and Edinburgh that will serve researchers in the East of England, the North of England, and Scotland (see In Sequence 5/19/2009).

The sequencing hubs will provide scientists access to "cutting-edge equipment" as well as technical support and bioinformatics expertise "to allow researchers to make the most of the rapid advances in high-throughput sequencing technology," according to the MRC.

The Oxford hub involves the University of Oxford, the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, the MRC Functional Genomics Unit, the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, the MRC Human Immunology Unit, the MRC Mary Lyon Centre, the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust.

It will build on existing sequencing capacity at the Wellcome Trust Centre's Oxford High-throughput Sequencing Centre that is currently available to local users and transform it into a resource "that can be accessed by a wider pool of MRC researchers."

The facility is currently equipped with four Illumina Genome Analyzer II instruments and two Roche 454 GS FLX sequencers, according to Kalim Mir, a group leader at the center, and would like to acquire additional Illumina machines.

Initial activities of the Oxford center will include human and mouse genetics research, pathogen genetics and surveillance, translational research and technology development, and associated bioinformatics and statistical genetics, according to the MRC.