Glasgow uni experts launch £20,000 gene research venture

Allison Jackson of Glasgow Polyomics, one of the four expert groups comprising Precision Sequencing. Picture: Contributed
Allison Jackson of Glasgow Polyomics, one of the four expert groups comprising Precision Sequencing. Picture: Contributed
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Four groups at the University of Glasgow have used £20,000 of start-up funding to launch an enterprise providing genetic sequencing capabilities.

It is hoped that Precision Sequencing, which claims to provide one of the largest capabilities of its kind in the UK, can help clinicians, researchers, industry partners and the NHS find new tests and treatments for the likes of pancreatic cancer and fatty liver disease.

Genetic sequencing involves determining the order of the four chemical building blocks that make up DNA and allows scientists to compare DNA quickly and more cheaply.

This can assist with uncovering information about the role of genetics in susceptibility to disease, as well as how disease progresses and responds to treatment or environmental pressures. It creates “vast potential” for new diagnostics and therapies.

The new enterprise has received £10,000 of start-up support from the University of Glasgow’s Knowledge Exchange Fund and a further £10,000 grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s Proximity to Discovery Fund.

Precision Sequencing is formed of four groups: Glasgow Polyomics, Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC), Glasgow University Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and the Glasgow Precision Oncology Lab (GPOL).

By combining with other groups, the start-up offers opportunities for training, sharing resources, and collaboration on research projects.

Allison Jackson of Glasgow Polyomics said: “If an organisation has genetic sequencing requirements, it can be difficult to know which provider is best suited to its needs.

“Bringing these four partners together provides a single, clear point of entry to the sequencing services that the University of Glasgow can provide.

“SMS-IC focus on precision medicine, which is all about finding the right medicine for the right person at the right time.

“The CVR team are experts in sequencing viruses, while GPOL specialise in sequencing the genomes of cancer. Glasgow Polyomics have broad expertise in many types of sequencing, on a wide variety of samples including humans, animals, plants and parasites.”

Marian McNeil, interim chief operating officer of SMS-IC, added: “Next-generation sequencing is a fast-paced area, so bringing these four groups together will also ensure our technicians are up-to-date with the most state-of-the-art sequencing technology.

“Precision Sequencing has the potential to be a thriving partnership where all four partners support each other and have the capability to work on large-scale sequencing projects.”