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Exeter at the forefront of DNA sequencing research with new high-tech equipment awarded


£1.6 million has been awarded to the University of Exeter Medical School to fund a high-tech facility that will unlock some of the mysteries of the genome.

The new facility will allow Exeter researchers to identify and analyse parts of the genome that are currently hidden to us in closer and will aid our understanding of living systems and causes of disease.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced that the Medical Research Council have awarded the funds as part of their Clinical Research Infrastructure initiative.

New equipment will be installed in the new Wellcome Wolfson Clinical Research Facility, within the RILD building, which is shared by the Medical School and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Researchers will be able invest in single molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) and expand their computing facilities to analyse all complex data collected by the machines.

Exeter is at the forefront of this high technology: only three other SMRT sequencers can be found in the UK today, and this will be the first installed within a clinical research facility.

Professor Jonathan Mill, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the bid for the award, said “Our group at Exeter will acquire “third generation” DNA sequencing technology, which will enable us to fully characterise genomic complexity. This important investment will enable us to make significant advances in genomics research in areas including diabetes, neurological and other medical conditions by defining genetic variation in regions where DNA does not encode proteins”.

Emily Henderson, News Team

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