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454 Life Sciences and the GSC at Washington University Announce Collaborative Research Plan

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454 Life Sciences Corporation, a subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation and the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have announced a collaborative research plan to sequence disease-causing pathogens and to sequence RNA to analyze gene activity in tissue samples.

Under the first part of the collaborative research plan, scientists at the GSC and 454 Life Sciences will utilize the Genome Sequencer 20 System to sequence and analyze the genomes of disease-causing pathogens.

"Data on small genetic differences between isolates of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens can be key to understanding changes in virulence, infectivity, antibiotic resistance and other factors important to the control and treatment of disease," said Elaine Mardis, co-director of the Genome Sequencing Center.

"We will utilize these instrument systems to conduct collaborative research with 454 Life Sciences and in production alongside our existing technology to generate sequencing data for a variety of ongoing projects."

In a second project, scientists at the GSC, 454 Life Sciences and Washington University School of Medicine will use the Genome Sequencer 20 to sequence RNA to assess the expression profiles of genes in mammalian cells and tissues.

454 Life Sciences’ technology has sensitivity to enable in-depth studies of RNA and expression profiles, which may be useful for identifying drug targets and biomarkers for disease diagnosis.

"454 is pleased to have established this collaborative research plan, which will initially focus on the sequencing of disease-causing pathogens and analysis of gene activity in tissue samples, but could be expanded to incorporate additional research topics in the future," stated Christopher K. McLeod, President and Chief Executive Officer of 454 Life Sciences.

"The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University is the first research center to have purchased a second Genome Sequencer 20 System, further validating the use of our technology to better understand the genetic makeup of various diseases and to potentially identify those patients who are most likely to benefit from a particular treatment."