TIGR and NIAID sign $65 million microbial sequencing contract

October 02, 2003

Rockville, MD - Oct. 2, 2003 - The world's leading center for microbial genomics, The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), has signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to sequence and analyze the genomes of pathogenic microbes and invertebrate vectors of infectious diseases for the wider scientific community.

Under the contract, TIGR will sequence dozens of genomes per year. Among the organisms to be considered for sequencing will be pathogenic microorganisms and invertebrate vectors of infectious diseases. "We look forward to working in partnership with NIAID to help meet the needs of the infectious disease research community for genomic data and analysis," said TIGR President Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D.

TIGR's affiliated sequencing facility, the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation Joint Technology Center, also located in Rockville, MD, will conduct the sequencing under the contract, with TIGR investigators leading each genome project and coordinating the analysis. The Joint Technology Center, which began operations this summer, is one of the world's largest and most technologically advanced sequencing centers.

TIGR, a not-for-profit research institute, sequenced the first genome of a free-living organism in 1995. Since then, TIGR has sequenced the genomes of more than 50 other organisms or microbial strains, including the genomes of microbes that cause pneumonia, cholera, syphilis, anthrax, malaria, meningitis, Lyme disease, and gingivitis.

Fraser said the sequencing accomplished under the NIAID contract will provide invaluable data to the international community of scientists who study the microorganisms that cause infectious diseases and seek to develop more effective treatments and vaccines. Whole-genome analyses of several pathogens have led to vaccine and antimicrobial drug development projects.

"TIGR has set the standard for the microbial genomics and has made billions of base pairs of genomic data available to the wider scientific community," said Fraser. "This contract will allow TIGR to continue meeting the needs of researchers who are dedicated to finding new ways to prevent and treat diseases caused by microbial pathogens."
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The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), which sequenced the first complete genome of a free-living organism in 1995, is a not-for-profit research institute based in Rockville, Maryland. TIGR conducts research involving the structural, functional, and comparative analysis of genomes and gene products in viruses, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes.

Media Contact:

Robert Koenig
TIGR Publications and Public Affairs Manager
301-838-5880
rkoenig@tigr.org

The Institute for Genomic Research

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