Liverpool Installs Next Generation DNA Sequencing Machine

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Two next generation DNA sequencing machines have been installed at the University of Liverpool to help scientists identify the genetic structure of cancer tissue.

The SOLiD next generation analyser is the first instrument of its kind in the UK outside the major genome centre at Cambridge and has been bought by the University of Liverpool and the Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust. The technology will be used to investigate the nature of important clinical conditions, such as cancer, superbugs and African sleeping sickness.

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Biological Scientist, Professor Neil Hall, said: "We currently generate 500 million separate letters of DNA sequence from a single day's work. The new instruments will work 40 times faster, allowing human genomes to be mapped out in a few days, compared to 10 years using previous technology.

"The technology is invaluable not only for research into diseases such as cancer, but for our understanding of genetics as a whole. The main objective for those working in cancer research is to understand how the disease is related to rearrangements in the genetic structure of cells that make up cancer tissues to aide the development of a new treatment."

DNA sequencing has been pioneered by institutes such as the Wellcome Trust's Sanger Institute in Cambridge. It was here that scientists decoded a record-breaking two billion letters of DNA in the human genome. In order to do this, however, the technology was so large and complex it had to be housed in specially constructed buildings. The new state-of-the-art instruments are no larger than a photocopier and are stored in a laboratory at the University's School of Biological Sciences.

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