Affymetrix Inc. and LineaGen Inc. have announced that a team of prominent researchers at the University of Utah and Vanderbilt University are leveraging Utah’s deep domain expertise in human genetic research and the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 to discover genetic markers associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Autism.
Scientists led by Mark Leppert, Ph.D., professor and co-chair of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, are using the Affymetrix technology and LineaGen’s business domain expertise to generate and analyze genetic information from large multiplex Utah pedigrees, with corresponding decades’ worth of longitudinal clinical data. It is anticipated that the resulting information will provide researchers with greater understanding of these diseases, and enable more effective use of existing treatments and the development of novel molecular diagnostics and therapies.
“We chose the Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 because of its comprehensive genetic content, and its ability to analyze both SNP and copy number variations,” said Dr. Leppert. “We have a valuable and unique genetic population resource at the University of Utah and now we can cost-effectively conduct larger-scale studies to determine the genetic associations of common diseases like MS and Autism.”
The Affymetrix arrays will be run in the lab of Shawn Levy, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Microarray Shared Resource at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We are excited to be working with the team at the University of Utah on this study, which will provide us with greater insight into the genetic causes of diseases like MS and Autism, which continue to baffle researchers after decades of research efforts,” said Dr. Levy. “The Affymetrix Array 6.0 is already delivering extremely high-quality results and we’re seeing unprecedented call rates.”
The project is being managed and funded by LineaGen, a content-based biomarker discovery company focused on commercializing novel, patentable diagnostic tests that will lead to personalized healthcare regimens.
“In seeking to further understand the genetic basis of MS and Autism, two of the more complex and challenging disorders which currently affect millions of people, it is essential that we work with the best research partners and genetic technologies available,” said Michael Paul, Ph.D., president and CEO of LineaGen. “This is why we have chosen to work with the University of Utah researchers uniquely qualified to analyze the Utah Population Database, and with Affymetrix and value-added partners such as Vanderbilt.”
“The most important metric of a whole-genome association study is the genetic power,” said Kevin King, president of Affymetrix. “The Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 is the platform for genetic breakthroughs because it combines comprehensive genetic coverage and a cost-effective price per sample. Customers like the University of Utah, Vanderbilt and LineaGen are now able to perform higher-powered studies than ever before on diseases that affect millions of people around the world.”