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SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE HUNTS FOR DAMAGED DNA
originally posted June 9, 1997
University of Michigan receives $5.5 million grant for genetic study The National Cancer Institute has awarded the University of Michigan a five-year, $5.5-million grant to fund a project which scans human DNA for threatening mutations and genetic damage.
The project has two objectives:
* To explore the role that exposure to environmental agents, such as radiation, plays in genetic damage which can cause congenital defects or cancer.
* To identify genes that are especially susceptible to mutation and may be associated with cancer and other disorders.
The U-M research team, directed by Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., uses a combination of enzymes to digest DNA sequences that encode for genes. That process produces thousands of DNA fragments, which are then analyzed with highly sensitive, high-speed software that can detect subtle changes among several thousand fragments. The U-M research team created the imaging software.
"We have developed the necessary resources to sequence all those thousands of DNA fragments, which would represent a significant contribution to the genome project effort," said Hanash, a U-M professor of pediatrics. "The field of genomic investigations has become extremely competitive with a growing emphasis on the use of efficient technologies to study multiple genes simultaneously. The award of this grant recognizes the strength the University of Michigan has established in this field."
Hanash will collaborate with investigators from several U-M departments, including James Neel, M.D., Ph.D., in Human Genetics; Eric Radany, M.D., Ph.D., in Radiation Oncology; Thomas Glover, Ph.D., and Rork Kuick in Pediatrics; David Beer, Ph.D., Donald Ross, M.D., and Karin Muraszko, M.D., in Surgery; Bruce Richardson, M.D., Ph.D., in Internal Medicine; and Dan Teichroew, Ph.D., in Industrial and Operations Engineering.