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News - We travel the road to 'mastery of our biological destiny' - News

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News : We travel the road to 'mastery of our biological destiny'
webmaster Posted on 2013/1/29 8:51:13 ( 10437 reads )

Genomics, the topic of this year's lecture series at the University of Arizona's College of Science, is not an inherently controversial topic.

It is the realm of scientists who sequence and assemble the entire set of DNA contained in each cell of an organism.

Genomics provides a road map for researchers in a variety of endeavors - biology, evolution, immunology, pharmacology, medicine, agriculture and more.

It has the potential to unlock the mysteries of our ancestry, feed the world, improve health, cure disease and lengthen productive lives.

In the public realm it also raises fears about the misuse of medical information, the danger of synthetic biology and concerns about our food supply, expressed in terms like "super weeds" and "Frankenfoods."

That is partly the reason for the lecture series, said Dr. Fernando Martinez, the pediatrician and asthma researcher who heads the UA's Bio5 Research Institute and will give the initial lecture Wednesday.

"The time has come for society to understand the genome," said Martinez.

He predicts that within the next 10 years, a personalized genome map will be made available to the parents of each child born in the United States.

That knowledge, combined with an increasing understanding of the function of individual genes and the epigenetic factors that influence how they work, he said, will make us "masters of our own biological destiny."

Epigenetics is the study of how identical DNA acts in different ways.

Knowledge of the genomes of food crops, meanwhile, will allow us to feed a worldwide population that will increase by 2 billion people before it reaches a predicted peak of 9 billion by 2050.

Genomics must play a role in that, Martinez said. "You can talk about it all you want, but we really have no alternative."

Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, is pushing for an international campaign to meet the "9 billion problem" after years of honing research techniques for genomic sequencing.

He and researcher Qifa Zhang, of Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, are heading an effort to raise $9 billion from philanthropists and governments to establish research centers in six areas of the globe.

The goal is to map and sequence multiple varieties of rice, aiming for a catalog of "green super rice" species that would grow in various climates and adverse conditions around the world.

News : Recap: UofA Genomics Institute Game 25
webmaster Posted on 2012/12/21 10:48:41 ( 2552 reads )


This first ever chess event at the absolutely amazing hall at U of A Genomics Institute was a success.
Close to 30 players competed in 3 different sections.There were many unique highlights about this tournament that we would like to mention here.
1. The AZ reigning State Champion International Master Levon Atounian played in the open section.
2. Several public schools chose this event as their first try in the chess arena and liked it so much that they registered immediately for the upcoming events too.
3. The SACA President Troy Oberg give a small speech and even played a serious house game.
4. 2 high ranked players got back to playing tournament chess after more than 20 years of chess hiatus!

News : UA Geneticists Help Solve Barley Genome Puzzle
webmaster Posted on 2012/10/17 13:23:07 ( 2213 reads )

As part of an international consortium, scientists led by UA plant sciences professor Rod Wing have helped decipher the genetic alphabet of the barley plant. This is the largest plant genome to be sequenced and paves the way for tackling the wheat genome, the last frontier in the world's most important cereal crops.

Higher yields, improved pest and disease resistance and enhanced nutritional value are among potential benefits of an international scientific research effort that has resulted in an integrated physical, genetical and functional sequence assembly of the barley genome, as described in a paper published in the journal Nature.

“If you think of all the barley genes as a giant puzzle, you could say we can now see what picture the puzzle shows, how many pieces there are, what they look like and where they go,” explained Rod Wing, Regents’ Professor of Plant Sciences in the University or Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the UA Arizona Genomics Institute.

Wing and several members of his lab are part of the International Barley Sequencing Consortium, or IBSC, a consortium comprised of many researchers at many institutions across the world. Wing's group is part of the UA BIO5 Institute.

According to the IBSC, the new resource will facilitate the development of new and better barley varieties able to cope with the demands of climate change. It should also help in the fight against cereal crop diseases, which cause millions in losses every year.

"The barley genome will help us in our quest to help solve the ‘9 billion-people’ question: How to feed two more billion mouths in less than 40 years,” Wing said.

News : Can the World Feed 9 Billion People in 20 Years?
webmaster Posted on 2012/10/2 9:48:08 ( 1745 reads )

News : KeyGene licenses Whole Genome Profiling to AGI
webmaster Posted on 2012/8/28 14:24:31 ( 2507 reads )

The Arizona Genome Institute (AGI) and KeyGene announced that they have entered into a broad license agreement that will enable AGI to market and execute sequence-based physical mapping projects using KeyGene’s proprietary Whole Genome Profiling (WGPTM) method.

The agreement includes on-site training to enable AGI scientists to apply the WGP method in their physical mapping projects. The agreement provides AGI with a state-of-the art solution to assemble physical maps of superior quality for internal research programs and customer projects. The WGP maps are used as scaffolds in whole genome sequencing programs, to provide direct access to Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes (BACs), containing genome segments of interest, and as a tool for revealing structural genome changes in evolutionary studies and breeding programs.

News : KeyGene, AGI Ink Deal Covering Whole Genome Profiling Technology
webmaster Posted on 2012/8/27 15:38:14 ( 1589 reads )

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agricultural genomics firm KeyGene and the Arizona Genome Institute today announced an agreement for the use of the Wageningen, Netherlands-based firm's Whole Genome Profiling method in sequencing-based physical mapping projects.

AGI will also market the WGP method as part of the deal, which provides the institute a method for assembling physical maps for internal research projects and customer projects. WGP maps serve as scaffolds in whole-genome sequencing projects, allowing researchers direct access to Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes (BAC), which contain genome segments of interest. The technology also can be used to ascertain structural genome changes in evolutionary studies and breeding programs, KeyGene and AGI said.

The WGP method uses next-generation sequencing to produce short-read sequences next to restriction enzyme recognition sites in BACs. The BACs are pooled, and BAC-pooled DNA are isolated based on protocols developed by KeyGene's co-marketing partner Amplicon Express.

News : U.S. Scientist Develops New Rice Varieties for Hot, Dry Climate
webmaster Posted on 2012/8/14 12:09:03 ( 3328 reads )

A researcher working in the arid U.S. state of Arizona claims to have developed two strains of rice that can withstand hot and dry conditions after about seven years of research.

According to the University of Arizona researcher, Dr. Paul Sanchez, the new strains of rice have survived the hot and dry conditions of Arizona this year. Moreover, the strains are growing and multiplying in Arizona for the first time, said the researcher.

Dr Sanchez says that he plans to expand his research to develop heat resistant corn and wheat strains as well. This year, dry and hot conditions in the U.S. has led to a massive drop in corn production.

News : UA researcher developing drought-resistant crops
webmaster Posted on 2012/8/9 8:43:38 ( 3735 reads )

Despite the recent rainfall totals from monsoon storms the Southwest, and much of the country, is still battling the worst drought in decades. Here in Tucson, one University of Arizona researcher is developing strains of rice that can grow in these hot, dry conditions. It is a local project that could have a global impact.

Dr. Paul Sanchez started his research back in 2005 and has already developed two promising strains of rice that can tolerate heat. It is a pretty big discovery, since rice is a major food source for more than half of the world's population.

"When I first started this project I didn't know that rice would grow," Sanchez said.

News : 100 days of science: UA corn-genetics work enabling quicker adaptations for vital crop
webmaster Posted on 2012/7/13 11:44:49 ( 1683 reads )

Resized ImageThe Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

Researchers at the University of Arizona followed up their 2004 sequencing of the rice genome with work on the other important cereal crop - corn.

It took about 50 researchers - including 10 working full time at the UA - $30 million and four years to produce a blueprint for manipulating the corn, or maize, genome.

That was a big improvement over the six years and $200 million it took to crack the code for rice. Improvements in knowledge, techniques and equipment are quickly chipping away at the cost of genetic research, said Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute.

Similar studies could be done today for $500,000, Wing said.

The roadmaps produced by the plant geneticists will enable quicker adaptations for a host of food crops, said Wing.

News : 100 days of science: Gene researcher strives to create super-rice that will feed billions
webmaster Posted on 2012/7/9 11:18:35 ( 1434 reads )

Resized ImageRod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, holds a petri plate of E. coli clones containing corn DNA. His lab is leading a project to sequence genes of wild rice.

The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, said he likes to "surprise people" by telling them the University of Arizona is the largest producer of rice in the state.

The rice grows in experimental plots in the greenhouses and fields of the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - an outgrowth of research in Wing's lab to help solve the Earth's looming food crisis by creating new strains of the cereal crops that make up 60 percent of humankind's diet.

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A portion of AGI's material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 102620.