Thursday, 2 April 2009

New national Genome Centre to underpin food security and animal health

A new national centre to analyse plant, animal and microbial genomes has been announced today by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) will be based on the Norwich Research Park and will provide genome sequencing to underpin advances to improve food security, to protect UK agriculture from exotic animal disease and exploit weaknesses in microbes to develop new ways to kill superbugs. It will also be a centre of excellence in bioinformatics to ensure that the data generated by its genome analysis, and that of other facilities, can be effectively collected and analysed.

TGAC will become operational over the next two months and will be formally opened in June. It will be a BBSRC national centre in partnership with EEDA, Norfolk County Council, South Norfolk Council, Norwich City Council, and the Greater Norwich Development Partnership. BBSRC is providing the majority of the £13.5M investment in the Centre and will underwrite its running costs for several years but the partners are all making significant contributions.

Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, said: "Genomic technology has enormous promise. The new Genome Analysis Centre will help to develop UK capacity in this area, where we are already a world leader.

"I am delighted that the centre will work closely with industry to develop our economic potential in such disciplines as bioinformatics and metagenomic sequencing."

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