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BBSRC Invests in Future of Livestock Genomics

Published: Monday, January 07, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, January 07, 2013
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Over £1.1M of new investment has been awarded for ARK-Genomics, with a focus on the genetics and genomics of livestock species.

ARK-Genomics is one of the BBSRC-funded "National Capabilities", unique facilities that are essential to the delivery of world-class bioscience in the UK. ARK-Genomics has expertise in DNA sequencing, microarrays, SNP genotyping and bioinformatics. The new funding from BBSRC will complement the National Capability Grant (NCG) that was awarded earlier this year as part of The Roslin Institute's strategic funding.

The investment will allow ARK-Genomics to enhance their capacity to carry out large-scale DNA sequencing projects in livestock and related species. Such work includes The Roslin Institute's involvement with the Pig Genome project, recently published in Nature, and the International Sheep Genomics Consortium (ISGC). ARK-Genomics' facilities will complement those of the National Avian Research Facility (NARF), the second of The Roslin Institute's National Capabilities.

The funding also enables ARK-Genomics to continue to invest in the latest DNA sequencing technologies, as well as increased automation which enables hundreds of biological samples to be processed in parallel.

The ARK-Genomics facility, together with The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), enables researchers funded by the BBSRC and other research councils to access cutting-edge technologies in genetics and genomics, allied with expertise in animal, plant and pathogen genomics.

Mick Watson, Director of ARK Genomics said, "This investment by BBSRC is welcome, and enables us to remain at the forefront of livestock genomics, both in the UK and globally. The BBSRC recognises the importance of genetics and genomics to solve problems in the World's food system, and ARK-Genomics is key to the delivery of impact in animal health and food security in the UK".

Professor David Hume, Director of The Roslin Institute, said, "The Roslin Institute and ARK Genomics with partners across the University of Edinburgh have formed key strategic alliances with BGI in China (the world's largest genomics sequencing company) and the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology in Hyderabad, India. The new funding awarded by the BBSRC is a real boost in support of these and other partnerships for the UK science base. The funding is also key in maintaining the UK's strong international standing in the increasingly important genomics sector."

Mario Caccamo, Deputy Director at The Genome Analysis Centre, another Institute receiving BBSRC strategic funding and collaborator with The Roslin Institute, said, "This investment will contribute to cementing ARK Genomics' leadership in livestock genomics in the UK and internationally. At TGAC, we are looking forward to continuing working with ARK Genomics complementing our strengths to enable scientific excellence and to develop a sustainable bioeconomy driven by innovation."

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