Company Begins Sequencing Mouse Genome
ROCKVILLE, MD -- April 6, 2000 -- Celera Genomics (NYSE: CRA), a PE Corporation business, announced today that it has completed the sequencing phase of one person’s genome and will now begin to assemble the sequenced fragments of the genome into their proper order based on new computational advances. Celera began to sequence the human genome seven months ago in September 1999. In addition to assembly, the company will now focus on annotating the sequence information and collecting additional data on genetic variations.
Celera’s whole genome shotgun sequencing technique involves sequencing from both ends of the double stranded cloned DNA. Celera’s accurately paired clone end sequences are a key tool for assembling the genome much more completely than single stranded sequencing methods allow at comparable levels of sequence coverage. Celera’s paired end-sequencing strategy, as part of the whole genome shotgun sequencing technique, has now produced sequence pairs from clones that cover the human genome 11 times. The company believes that 99% of the human genome is represented in the cloned DNA.
Celera’s whole genome sequencing strategy has been validated by the recent publication of the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) genome, the largest genome to be sequenced and assembled to date. Drosophila is a very important model for human biology and medicine. After assembly and annotation, the non-repetitive regions of the Drosophila genome have greater than 99.99% sequence accuracy.
Celera has finished the human genome sequencing phase and has started the assembly of the genome, but the company will continue to perform human sequencing for SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) diversity and for gap closure. The SNPs are single letter variations between people that determine susceptibility to disease and the ability to combat illness. A significant feature of Celera’s approach to sequencing the human genome is the use of genetic material from both men and women of various ethnic backgrounds. When Celera completes human SNP sequencing over the next few months, its genomic database will consist of data from six men and women of varying self-identified ethnic backgrounds. This approach should allow Celera to develop a database for studying the genetic variations between individuals at the same time the genome is being deciphered. "Now that we have completed the sequencing of one human being’s genome we will turn our computational power to the task of ordering the human genome," said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Celera’s president and chief scientific officer. "We intend to complete and publish the human data in a form that is consistent with the high-quality Drosophila genome that Celera achieved in collaboration with the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project. This is expected to allow researchers worldwide and our subscribers to utilize our data to make important medical advances."
Celera Starts Mouse Genome Project
Celera has now begun the mouse genome project, which is of critical importance to biomedical researchers using the mouse as a model for studies of human biology and medicine. A key feature of Celera’s business model will be the ability to compare genomes from various organisms (comparative genomics). The comparison of the mouse, Drosophila, and human genomes is expected to open many new avenues of research into the mechanisms of gene conservation and regulation, which could lead to a better understanding of gene function and disease.
* Human Genome:
On January 10, 2000, Celera announced it had compiled data covering 90% of the human genome. With the announcement today, Celera is on target to complete the assembly and annotation of the human genome later this year.
* Drosophila melanogaster Genome:
On December 30, 1999, Celera completed the release of the Drosophila genome sequence to the public data bank. After doing extensive scientific analysis in conjunction with the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project (BDGP) and other collaborators, Celera and the public collaborators published the manuscripts in the scientific journal Science on March 24, 2000. Celera and its collaborators have identified nearly 14,000 genes in the genome, many in commercially important protein families, which should prove valuable in developing new therapeutics and insecticides. Drosophila is the largest genome sequenced to date, and is the first insect and the first organism with a central nervous system to be sequenced.
PE Corporation currently comprises two operating groups. Celera Genomics Group, headquartered in Rockville, MD, intends to become the definitive source of genomic and related medical information. PE Biosystems Group (NYSE: PEB), headquartered in Foster City, CA and with sales of $1.2 billion during fiscal 1999, develops and markets instrument-based systems, reagents, software, and contract related services to the life science industry and research community. Information about the company, including consolidated financial statements of PE Corporation, is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.pecorporation.com or by phoning (800) 762-6923.
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