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UNM Inventor Genome Sequencing Technology Used for International Project

Albuquerque, NM – April 14, 2014 A unique technology for DNA sequencing developed at the University of New Mexico is gaining international attention. The technology was used, conjunction with a group of international researchers, to completely sequence the Minke whale genome in roughly six months. Created by Dr. Jeremy Edwards, a Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Nuclear Engineering and Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and a team of researchers, the technology is an innovative, next generation genetic sequencing platform that implements an ISFET (ion-sensitive field-effect transistor) integrated circuit in haplotype sequencing. The technology represents a significant advancement in DNA sequencing, showing great promise in reducing overall genome sequencing time and cost.

Genome sequencing has made substantial progress in recent years. In the early 1990s, the Human Genome Project gathered data on the sequence of DNA base pairs as well as identified over 20,000 genes in human DNA. Having the ability to analyze and understand DNA has led to better understanding and treatments of diseases such as cancer and has caused increased interest in this field of study. Each genome stores a substantial amount of information which must be analyzed and compared to other genomes. Since this is far too much data for humans to effectively manage, a large part of the sequencing process is performed by a computer. Most DNA sequencers are currently optically based. New sequencers are being introduced with ISFET technology which reduces cost and improves the efficiency of the sequencing process. The other advantages of the ISFET technology include a significant reduction in sensor area, an improved signal-to-noise ratio, and increased sensitivity. Dr. Edwards recently received a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop his sequencing technologies which can be used on any sequencer to provide more detailed genomic information.

To read about the Minke whale sequencing project, see Dennis Domrzalski’s article, “UNM Takes a Whale of a Step in Genome Sequencing,” from the March 7 edition of Albuquerque Business First, linked below.

UNM takes a whale of a step in genome sequencing

Source: Albuquerque Business First

For more information, contact:

Dennis Domrzalski
(505) 348-8306