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NIH Awards New England Biolabs Grant for the Research and Development of Novel Enzymes for Epigenetic Studies

Published: Friday, November 09, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, November 09, 2012
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New England Biolabs (NEB) has recently received a $640,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to expand its research and product development of novel enzymatic tools for epigenetic analysis.

This latest grant adds to the more than $1.1 million of SBIR funds awarded for this research since 2009.

Since its establishment in 1974, NEB has been dedicated to the discovery and development of reagents for the life sciences industry. A key to this effort has been the focused development of recombinant enzyme technology by NEB scientists, resulting in  a wide array of enhanced tools for molecular biology research and analysis, such as engineered restriction enzymes with greater specificity under a wider range of reaction conditions. This commitment has placed NEB at the forefront of restriction enzyme research and supply.

The use of restriction enzymes in epigenetic studies has been a research focus at NEB for many years. Specifically, research in the area of methylation-dependent and methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes has led to the discovery and commercialization of new tools to identify these DNA modifications. For example, in 2010, NEB scientists identified the MspJI family of restriction enzymes, which has the ability to excise small fragments of methylated DNA for use in epigenetics studies. This latest SBIR grant award enables further research in this area, and ultimately a deeper understanding of epigenetic marks in the mammalian genome.

"Since its founding, NEB has coupled its basic research with the development of new tools for molecular biology," states Dr. Bill Jack, Director of Research at NEB. "The repository of knowledge, generated during the almost four decades of restriction endonuclease study at NEB, has fueled a discovery program that has radically expanded the utility of restriction endonucleases and activity on a variety of DNA templates, including those created by epigenetic modification. We are committed to continuing this discovery process, and to use these novel new enzyme.

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