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ITI Life Sciences Funds Synthetic Bio Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scottish organization ITI Life Sciences said today that it has invested £2.5 ($4.1 million) to commission a research collaboration involving Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the synthetic biology company Ginkgo BioWorks in a genome segment assembly program.

The aim of the collaboration is to develop a prototype technology that could be used to efficiently assemble small DNA segments into larger and more complex fragments, such as biosynthetic pathways. The 18-month project seeks to develop an automated and reliable system for high-throughput assembly of DNA segments.

"There is a clear market need for new technologies enabling an automated process for large scale DNA assembly," ITI Life Sciences Managing Director Eleanor Mitchell said in a statement. "This program provides a tremendous opportunity for Scotland to gain competitive advantage and capitalize on a relatively immature and innovative market."

"We believe the use of integrated microfluidic systems will provide the biologists with a powerful platform for advancing synthetic biology, and that the combined strength of the highly interdisciplinary teams put together by this ITI program is well placed to achieve this," Heriot-Watt University microengineeering Professor Will Shu added.

ITI Life Sciences is a division of ITI Scotland, a publicly funded organization focused on economic growth through R&D programs in energy, digital media and communications, and the life sciences.

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