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Gene experts join forces in new generation of DNA research

Edinburgh Genomics facility to bring experts together to focus on unravelling and analysing genetic code in large-scale studies

Ground-breaking research in human and animal health, the environment, and sustainable food production will be supported by a new world-class centre of DNA expertise.

The Edinburgh Genomics facility plans to bring together experts in the field to focus on unravelling and analysing genetic code in large-scale studies.

It aims to be at the forefront of the emerging personalisation of medicine, in which treatments can be tailored according to patients’ genes. The Centre claims that its technology will enable scientists to quickly compare hundreds of DNA samples from patients with particular diseases, to pinpoint key genes and inform development of therapies.

Scientists at the centre, based at the University of Edinburgh, will also seek to break new ground in agriculture, by identifying genes that could contribute to animal well-being or crop disease.

The centre will enable environmental scientists to learn more about the natural world, and facilitate a fast response to diseases that pose a risk to plants or wildlife. Edinburgh Genomics will make use of the University’s expertise in supercomputing and informatics to analyse the massive amounts of data generated in large DNA studies.

The new venture aims to build upon decades of experience by merging the existing facilities of Edinburgh GenePool and ARK-Genomics, which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The facilities’ scientists and technology will contribute to the work of the new centre.

Professor Mark Blaxter, Director of Edinburgh Genomics, said, “Edinburgh researchers already lead the world in this area, and our facility is ready to support more of this ground-breaking work. We will work with clinicians to apply new knowledge in the clinic, with farmers and breeders trying to improve our food supply, and with scientists aiming to understand the genetic underpinnings of how our ecosystems function.”

Edinburgh Genomics is supported by the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

EH News Bureau

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