Monday, July 2, 2007

UA first in arizona to install “second generation” DNA sequencer

[Source: Deborah Daun, Marketing & Communications, BIO5 Institute] -- UA’s Arizona Genomics Institute (AGI) has installed Arizona’s first “second generation” DNA sequencing machine. What took six months to accomplish with a “first generation” DNA sequencer now can be achieved in a few hours and at a fraction of the cost.

Under the direction of UA Plant Sciences Professor and BIO5 member Rod Wing, PhD, the new 454 GS-FLX DNA sequencer is being used in a variety of genomics research efforts, including AGI’s rice DNA sequencing projects. Dr. Wing has significantly contributed to the sequencing of one species of domesticated rice. This understanding of domesticated rice, combined with the knowledge gained from Dr. Wing’s most recent work sequencing the genomes of wild relatives of rice will ultimately lead to crop improvements.

The wild relatives of rice can grow in conditions unsuited to domestic rice. Pinning down genes linked to desirable properties such as crop yield, drought tolerance, and resistance to pests, heat, cold, weeds, salt and pathogens could make it possible to grow domesticated rice in less than ideal environments, thus increasing production acreage and helping to reduce hunger around the world.

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