GenePool, the Scottish next-generation genomics facility: University of Edinburgh, University of Dundee, MRC Human Genetics Unit (Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine), University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen, The Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh. The Scottish Hub is based at the GenePool, the University of Edinburgh’s next generation sequencing and genomics facility. MRC funding will build on the existing capacity of the GenePool so that service can be delivered to the wide range of biomedical investigators in the Scottish research sector. The GenePool will deliver service to groups investigating the genetics of cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorders and cancer, and support major research groups examining the genetics of early development and the pathology and epidemiology of infectious diseases. Importantly, the Scottish MRC Hub award will also seed the establishment, in the five partner Universities and centres, of research bioinformatics positions whose role will be to assist investigators in the analysis of the torrents of new data that will be produced.
University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield, University of Manchester and University of Lancaster. Individuals vary from each other in their disease susceptibility or in the way that they respond to treatment. Fortunately, new instruments are now becoming available which can sequence a human in just a few weeks for approx £10-50,000. The North of England has substantial amounts of leading medical and clinical research based in major Universities and NHS Trusts, all of which would benefit greatly from access to second generation (2G) DNA sequencing technology, particularly in meeting the challenges of tumour sequencing, genetic susceptibility and personalised medicine. The Advanced Genomics Facility (AGF), located in Liverpool, is a leading UK centre of excellence and service provider for the new generation of sequencing technologies. The North of England hub will expand the capacity of the AGF to serve the research leaders in Universities and hospitals of the North of England by offering a one-stop shop that provides advice for all stages of the work. We shall also provide training and pump-prime cost-sharing programmes helping client groups to turn DNA sequence into knowledge.
University of Cambridge, European Bioinformatics Institute, Babraham Institute, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project advances in genomic sequencing have led to a dramatic fall in time taken and cost to produce very large scale sequence-based datasets. Cambridge University has a long and productive history in both the development and application of DNA sequencing technologies. The creation of the Eastern Sequencing and Informatics Hub will enable researchers working in our region to utilise a crucial 21st-century research process in their studies. In collaboration with the nearby European Bioinformatics Institute, an international centre for sequence data analysis, the Hub will provide researchers with access to all the tools required to analyse these complicated datsets. The Hub, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, has a research development and strategic aim to apply HTS to routine medical diagnostic uses, in particular in HLA typing in transplantation and cord blood stem cells, prenatal diagnosis, and re-sequencing of disease genes (e.g. BRCA genes) in collaboration with the National Blood Service and NHS Regional Clinical Genetics Services. The MRC is actively engaged with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the investments they are making. The councils will undertake joint networking activities and BBSRC and MRC are investigating the potential of a joint studentship programme.
A consortium of the IGMM, the University of Edinburgh and other academic institutions in Scotland has been awarded £2.5m by the MRC to support high throughput DNA sequencing facilities in Edinburgh. Led by Professor Mark Blaxter, director of the University's GenePool, this funding will double the capacity for next generation sequencing in Scotland and is part of a UK wide £7million MRC initiative to stimulate the application of this new technology.
Although the fundamental science behind DNA sequencing has remained largely the same since Sanger’s original work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the 1970s, the technology of DNA sequencing is revolutionising the field. These hubs will provide MRC-funded technical support and bioinformatics expertise to allow academics to make the most of the equipment and expand the potential of these resources.
John Jeans, MRC Chief Operating Officer, said: “This investment is key to retaining and enhancing the UK’s competitiveness. It makes plain the MRC's commitment to supporting high quality basic research and exemplifies the responsiveness of MRC strategic investment to the needs of the research community.”
The hubs in Scotland, the North of England and the East of England will make high-throughput sequencing equipment available to all academics across the UK.