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New grants bolster efforts to generate faster and cheaper tools for DNA sequencing

BETHESDA, Md., Wed., Aug. 1, 2007 Looking ahead to a future in which each persons genome can be sequenced as a routine part of medical research and health care, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today awarded more than $15 million in grants to support development of innovative technologies with the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing.

"Innovative sequencing technologies are critical to our efforts to move advances in genomic knowledge into the clinic. The era of personalized medicine will demand more efficient and cost-effective approaches to DNA sequencing, said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

DNA sequencing costs have fallen more than 50-fold over the past decade, fueled in large part by tools, technologies and process improvements developed as part of the successful effort to sequence the human genome. However, it still costs as much as $5 million to sequence 3 billion base pairs the amount of DNA found in the genomes of humans and other mammals.

NHGRIs near-term goal is to lower the cost of sequencing a mammalian-sized genome to $100,000, allowing researchers to sequence the genomes of hundreds or even thousands of people as part of studies to identify genes that contribute to common, complex diseases. Ultimately, NHGRIs vision is to cut the cost of whole-genome sequencing to $1,000 or less, which will enable the sequencing of individual genomes as part of routine medical care. The ability to sequence an individual genome cost-effectively could enable health care professionals to tailor diagnosis, treatment and prevention to each persons unique genetic profile.

The new grants will fund eight investigators to develop revolutionary technologies that would make it possible to sequence a genome for $1,000, as well as three investigators developing nearer-term technologies to sequence a genome for $100,000. Both a
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
1-Aug-2007


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