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NHGRI support research to accelerate development of innovative sequencing technologies

September 08, 2017

Dr. Nelson is leading a multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Global Research, which includes expertise in molecular biology, enzymology, chemistry, optical and chemical engineering, microfluidics, automated image analysis and bioinformatics. During the past two years, Dr. Nelson and his research team have developed a new approach to sequencing that uses a mixture of enzyme and dye-tagged nucleotides, the building block of DNA, in a novel way to simplify the fundamental, front-end chemistry of massively parallel sequencing-by-synthesis. GE??ôs method uses the natural catalytic cycle of DNA polymerase, the enzyme that replicates DNA, to capture just a single DNA base on a single immobilized DNA strand. A fluorescence scanner is used to scan and identify hundreds of thousands of individual DNA molecules at once. The cycle is then repeated over and over to generate the DNA sequence of each strand.

Dr. Nelson has been conducting DNA related research since the mid-1980s and was part of GE's research team that helped enable the original sequencing of the human genome in the late 1990s. Today, he is part of Global Research??ôs Biosciences technology organization, which GE established five years ago to support long-range research endeavors in health care. The organization now has a team of more than 70 scientists.

GE Global Research will receive more than $1.3 million in funding from the NHGRI for Phase II of the project. GE??ôs project is part of a comprehensive effort by the NHGRI to support research that accelerates the development of innovative sequencing technologies that reduce the cost of DNA sequencing and expands the use of genomics in medical research and health care. The NHGRI issues genome technology grant awards to researchers to bring the cost of sequencing a human genome to under $100,000 in the near term, as well as revolutionary approaches to achieve the $1,000 genome. Global Research??ôs grant award is a ???$1,000??? genome grant.

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