Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


VIB and UZ-K.U.Leuven join forces and bring state-of-the-art technology to Flanders

Genome research can now be done 100 times faster

Belgium - Flemish biotechnologists have a world-wide reputation for deciphering genetic code. In order to further strengthen this leading position, two Flemish research institutes are joining forces and bringing new technology to Flanders which will record DNA 100 times faster than current methods. This is an essential asset as these DNA analyses hold the key to the decipherment and treatment of genetic disorders.

Why decipher DNA?
The full DNA of an organism - the genome - determines what that organism looks like and how it functions. The better we understand this, the more we can learn about the intricacies of living beings. We know the broad outline of human DNA, and scientists are now determining the DNA differences between people. These differences characterise the diversity of people but they also hold the key to a higher risk for genetic disorders such as dementia, psychosis, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and cancer. If we know and understand the differences, we can also use them as the foundation for new treatments.

However, to record these differences efficiently, it is essential that everything moves much faster than the current technology allows. This has now become possible. So-called ‘new generation’ sequence technology has recently been developed, but it is still very expensive.

... more about:
»454 »DNA »Leuven »Technology »UZ-K »sequence

Nevertheless, VIB and UZ.-K.U. Leuven have joined forces to give Flemish scientists access to this state-of-the-art technology. Via a co-ordinated investment program, they are bringing Roche’s DNA sequence technology platform, the so-called 454 sequencing, to Flanders.

What is 454 sequencing?
This technique provides an ingenious manner to super-efficiently decipher DNA code. DNA fragments are isolated in drops of water, which function as micro-reactors. Using these pieces of DNA, 10 million identical copies are made and they are simultaneously (but individually) sequenced. This is all done on a tablet the size of a credit card which contains 1.6 million little holes in which sequence reactions are generated. Seven hours later, the DNA sequences are produced by the computer, thereby rendering a wealth of data. This technology has the advantage of producing large parts of sequences from the genomes that are to be recorded, which benefits not only the speed but also the accuracy of the information. In short, the larger the pieces of the puzzle, the quicker and more precise the image of the entire picture.

Determining sequences can now be done 100 times faster than the technologies which are currently being used. With the next version of the new technology, which should be available within a year, one experiment will yield yet another 10 times more sequence, so 1000 times more than now. Therefore, with the new technology, Flemish scientists will in one day be able to gather DNA data that would today take 3 years to compile. This is truly revolutionary!

Applications for VIB and UZ-K.U. Leuven
In order to make optimal use of these substantial investments, VIB and UZ-K.U.Leuven are mutually coordinating activities on both units. Both parties will exchange expertise and will make capacity available to one another. In addition, VIB and UZ-K.U.Leuven will be able to grant Flemish researchers from other centers access to this revolutionary technology via this platform.

The 454 sequencer will be embedded in the Genetic Service Facility of the VIB Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp under the direction of Christine Van Broeckhoven . New technology will be developed under the supervision of Jurgen Del-Favero, supporting basic research such as sequencing new, full genomes of interesting organisms (e.g. pathogenic organisms) and tracing DNA differences that cause illnesses. On top of that, there will be a large investment in translational research focusing on the development of more efficient and cheaper genetic diagnostic tests. The University of Antwerp guarantees a structural contribution towards the cost of this new investment.

Quote from VIB: “This technology will allow us to more quickly identify the molecular mechanisms of illness.”

With this investment, UZ-K.U.Leuven wishes to stimulate translational research which will, through interaction between researchers and clinicians, generate genuine innovations in the field of patient care. A powerful DNA diagnostic platform to find mutations in genes which cause, among other things, breast and bowel cancer, or are involved in illnesses such as heart, vascular illnesses and diabetes, can contribute to significant diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities.

Quote from UZ-K.U.Leuven: “This technology brings fundamental research closer to patient applications.”

Ann Van Gysel | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: 454 DNA Leuven Technology UZ-K sequence

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>