University of Leicester Buys Two GENIOM Devices to Expand Its Genetic Research Capabilities

Parallel Research Study with febit biotech gmbh
(PresseBox) (Heidelberg, ) Ordering two GENIOMs – the latest-generation custom microarray device for flexible analysis of DNA, genes and genomes in a variety of organisms – Leicester University upgrades its pool of high-tech instruments and invests in innovative research tools.

The University of Leicester has purchased two GENIOM devices, and hence febit biotech GmbH acquired another important reference customer and strategic partner in the United Kingdom. As a second renowned institute after the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG), Oxford, Prof. Anthony Brookes from the Leicester University Department of Genetics decided to buy two GENIOM devices.

One of the devices was installed in June and expands the high-tech pool of the institute by the addition of a latest-generation custom DNA microarray analysis tool. A well-attended introductory event organized by Prof. Brookes and febit at the research site brought a great deal of interest from the scientific researchers in the institute. The second GENIOM to be set up after the summer break will be predominantly used in a cooperative research program of the Brookes lab and febit scientists. Prof. Brookes has high expectations for the work with GENIOM: "Acquiring the two GENIOMs, we made a great step forward towards our goal of establishing this institute as a Centre of Excellence: it enables us to perform DNA microarray experiments much faster and with unprecedented flexibility. Moreover, we believe that certain characteristics of the GENIOM chips will combine favourably with a novel DNA analysis method that we currently establish in our laboratory."

In the cooperative effort, the Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridization (DASH) developed by Brookes and co-workers will be implemented on the GENIOM biochip, thus allowing automation of this versatile method. DASH enables the detection of human single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at much higher precision than any of the currently available methods. Further applications include the rapid characterization of emerging pathogens such as avian influenza or multi-resistant bacteria.

The febit team developed a dedicated GENIOM software module used in the project and supports the Leicester research group with scientific and technical input. "Together with the Leicester team, we hope to commercialize the DASH technique as an extension module for GENIOM," febit CSO Peer Stähler summarizes the corporate goals of the joined effort.

DASH: Analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genome of an organism is relevant not only for basic research but may contribute to the identification of individuals affected by certain hereditary diseases. DASH (Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridization) is a precise, fast and flexible method for the detection of SNPs, offering cost-advantages over conventional techniques. During the procedure, a DNA duplex of target DNA and an allele-specific oligonucleotide probe is slowly heated. The ensuing denaturation process is monitored by fluorescence detection. Perfect matches of probe and target are identified by their characteristic melting curves.

University of Leicester, Institute for Genetic Research: The Department of Genetics is accommodated in modern laboratories provided with all the facilities necessary for fundamental research and training in genetics. It is one of the largest Departments of Genetics in the United Kingdom and was rated at a Grade 5* in the 2001 national research assessment exercise. It has a diversity of active research groups with a common approach, the use of molecular techniques to resolve the problems addressed. The Department was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2002, for pioneering research and its impact on society. The work of the Department ranges from the study of prokaryote systems, yeast and other lower eukaryotes, to behaviour and development in fruit-flies and other animals, the human genome, aspects of medical genetics and the genetics of evolution.

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