Gen9 awarded its second annual G-Prize contest to a team led by Farren Isaacs, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University. Dr. Isaacs and his team will receive up to 1 million base pairs of synthetic DNA manufactured with Gen9’s next-generation gene synthesis technology.

Along with Adrian Haimovich, a student in the Yale M.D.-Ph.D. program, Dr. Isaacs will utilize these made-to-order DNA constructs to decipher cellular signaling networks and to create the largest-ever data set of in vivo protein-protein interactions, a resource that Gen9 said will be valuable to guide future studies of kinase signaling and potentially yield new drug targets.

The Isaacs Lab at Yale said it is focused on developing foundational genomic and cellular engineering technologies to better understand natural systems and to create organisms whose genomes have been streamlined by genome engineering to enable novel biological functions. Their goal is to uncover new properties of biological systems and to generate new phenotypes that can be applied to address global challenges in medicine, energy supply, and the environment.

“Deciphering the full connectivity guided by protein-protein interactions requires synthetic approaches that scale beyond current methods,” said Dr. Isaacs. “The 1 million base pairs of DNA from Gen9 will allow us to re-encode larger subsets of biomolecular interactions and create a first-of-its-kind data set that we believe will help guide future studies of kinase signaling and potentially yield new drug targets.”

“This year’s G-Prize represents the single largest award of synthetic DNA constructs ever granted from a commercial entity to an individual research lab,” said Kevin Munnelly, CEO of Gen9. “The Gen9 technology allows for the lowest-cost and highest-quality DNA constructs commercially available, and we are pleased to support pioneering researchers such as Dr. Isaacs through our annual G-Prize.”

The G-Prize contest, exclusively sponsored by Gen9, was launched to foster creative and innovative approaches for using synthetic DNA to advance industries including chemical and enzyme production, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and data storage. Contestants submitted applications describing their breakthrough ideas for using gene constructs and a panel of experts chosen by Gen9 judged the entries.

Each DNA construct manufactured by Gen9 is a double-stranded gene fragment from 500 to 10,000 base pairs in length. According to Gen9, the total market value of this year’s prize exceeds $500,000, based on the current average market cost of similar DNA constructs.

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