Affymetrix receives $10.2 million to study genome regions that are transcribed into RNA.

The NHGRI is awarding about $80 million worth of grants over the next four years to expand the ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project beyond its pilot phase. Affymetrix was the only company included in the list of recipients.  It won $10.2 million to map and characterize all the human genome regions that are transcribed into RNA, including protein production.

The overall goals of the ENCODE project are to identify the various functional regions found across the human genome and to develop high-throughput technologies associated with this task. The highest funding of $14.6 million was given to Stanford University. Next in line was Yale University with $11.5 million. Other investigators who obtained these scale-up grants include those from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the University of Washington, Seattle.

The Affymetrix team will work toward identifying protein-coding and nonprotein-coding RNA transcripts using microarrays, high-throughput sequencing, sequenced paired-end ditags, and sequenced cap analysis of gene expression tags.

“The data from these studies will provide the skeletal framework upon which many other functional elements will be mapped in the overall ENCODE project,” points out Thomas Gingeras, Ph.D., vp for biological science. Dr. Gingeras will lead the research group, which is a collaboration between six international laboratories. These include University of Geneva, Center for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Riken Genomic Sciences Center of Yokohama, Japan, University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and the Genome Institute of Singapore.

In support of the expansion of the ENCODE project, NHGRI also reports awards for two pilot-scale projects totaling $3.7 million, the establishment of an ENCODE data coordination center through a $5 million grant, and six programs worth $7.26 million to develop methods and technologies aimed at helping the ENCODE project.

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