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Researchers decode the hamster genome

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Posted August 22, 2013
Genome researchers at Bielefeld University decode the hamster genome

Genome researchers at Bielefeld University decode the hamster genome
The genome sequencing started with the Chinese hamster (picture). Credit: © Kerstin Molthagen

Genome researchers from Bielefeld University’s Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) headed by Professor Dr. Alfred Pühler have succeeded in sequencing the genome of the Chinese hamster. The Chinese hamster supplies the cell cultures used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce biopharmaceutical products such as antibodies used in medicine. This costly project was only possible thanks to a cooperation between Bielefeld University and its international project partners. The researchers have now published their results in the internationally renowned scientific journalNature Biotechnology.

To carry out this project, the CeBiTec research team cooperated with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (where the project was headed by Professor Dr. Nicole Borth), the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib), and two pharmaceutical companies: Novartis (in Switzerland) and Pfizer (in the USA).

Professor Dr. Thomas Noll, Scientific Director of CeBiTec, is confident that the data they have obtained will be of great interest to science and industry. ‘In future, the decoded hamster genome will greatly advance the use of cell lines to produce pharmaceuticals’, says Noll, who runs the Cell Culture Technology research group at the Faculty of Technology and participated in the research project.

The genome of the Chinese hamster is composed of eleven pairs of chromosomes. Decoding such a large genome calls for the generation of large datasets that then have to be processed with bioinformatics. To facilitate the resulting data analysis, the researchers in Bielefeld and their colleagues in this project applied a completely new procedure that sorts the single chromosomes of the genome. The sequencing of the hamster chromosomes was performed by Dr. Karina Brinkrolf at CeBiTec. More than 1.4 billion short DNA sequences were generated with the help of modern instruments for next-generation sequencing.

 

Read more at: Phys.org

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