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Aug 23, 2011

NHGRI Gives $1,000 Genome Project a $14M Shot in the Arm

NHGRI Gives $1,000 Genome Project a $14M Shot in the Arm

Nine teams will benefit from this round of grant-giving, including two companies.[© Orlando Florin Rosu - Fotolia.com]

  • NHGRI is offering $14 million in grants to advance sequencing technologies that can achieve the $1,000 genome or less. The money will go to nine teams developing platforms that could enable the everyday use of DNA sequencing tools by biomedical researchers and healthcare providers.

    The approaches will integrate biochemistry, chemistry, and physics with engineering to develop the third generation of DNA sequencing and analysis technologies.

    "We are confident that NHGRI grantees will continue to make major breakthroughs in the development of technologies that will eventually lead to the ability to sequence a human genome for $1,000 or less," says NHGRI director Eric D. Green, M.D, Ph.D. "As genome sequencing costs continue to decline, researchers and clinicians can increase the scale and scope of their studies."

    In 2004, NHGRI launched programs to accelerate improvements in DNA sequencing technologies and to drive down the cost. In 2009, the program surpassed its initial goal of producing high-quality genome sequences of roughly 6 billion base pairs—the amount of DNA found in humans and other mammals that receive roughly 3 billion bases from each of their parents—for $100,000. Today, the cost to sequence a human genome has dipped below $20,000.

    The current round of grants will fund the following organizations:

    • Mark A. Akeson, Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz ($3.6 million for 3 years): Optimization of processive enzymes for DNA sequencing using nanopores
    • Wayne M. Barnes, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis ($608,000 for 2 years): Fluorescent amino acid probe of template-strand bases
    • Marija Drndic, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ($1.5 million for 3 years): DNA sequencing using single-layer graphene nanoribbons with nanopores
    • Mark Kokoris, Stratos Genomics, Seattle ($829,000 for 2 years): Sequencing by expansion
    • Stuart Lindsay, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe ($4.1 million for 4 years): Instrument to optimize DNA sequencing by recognition tunneling
    • Marian Mankos, Electron Optica, CA ($499,000 for 2 years): DNA sequence imaging using a low energy electron microscope
    • Jay A. Shendure, M.D., Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle ($1.8 million for 3 years): Massively parallel contiguity mapping
    • Steven A. Soper, Ph.D., Louisiana State University A&M College, Baton Rouge ($616,000 for 2 years): Polymer-based modular systems with nanosensors for DNA/RNA sequencing
    • Bharath R. Takulapalli, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe ($916,000 for 3 years): High-speed DNA sequencing by chemical recognition using novel nanopore technology

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