CARLSBAD, Calif. and GAITHERSBURG, MDMay 24, 2010 – Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:  LIFE) and EdgeBio today announced a partnership with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to study the impact of gene regulation in the development of schizophrenia.  The project will use Life Technologies’ SOLiD™ System and MethylMiner™ Methylated DNA Enrichment Kit to search for methylation patterns associated with schizophrenia in a cohort of 1500 patients and controls.  This study represents the first large scale genome-wide sequencing study to detect epigenetic markers for understanding the causes of a complex disease.

“The personal, familial and societal costs of schizophrenia, an often devastating illness, are enormous.  DNA methylation studies represent a particularly promising approach to complement traditional genetic studies of schizophrenia,” said Edwin van den Oord, Ph.D., director of VCU School of Pharmacy’s Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine.  “This is because methylation is directly related to gene regulation and can shed a unique light on disease mechanisms.  Methylation sites are also excellent new drug targets that are accessible at the stable DNA level, making them potentially easy to use in clinical settings to improve diagnosis and individualize drug treatment.”

The regulation of genes is often influenced by whether the DNA backbone is “marked” with methyl groups.  Genes having regulatory sequences that are methylated are turned off, whereas those lacking methylation tend to be expressed.  Differences in methylation patterns from person to person or even cell type to cell type within an individual’s tissues may influence the development of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes and neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. 

Scientists at EdgeBio will use MethylMiner™ to enrich genome samples for methylated DNA and then sequence the resulting libraries of methylated DNA on the SOLiD™ System and provide the data to VCU for analysis.  The initial goal of the study will be to use a whole genome search approach to find methylated markers associated with schizophrenia.  Following the initial search and discovery of markers, VCU scientists will further study the most promising markers in an additional 1600 patients and controls.

“This is indeed an ambitious study.  Sequencing 1500 genomes along with 75 technical replicates, even after enriching for methylated DNA, is a significant undertaking.  Together, EdgeBio and Life Technologies will be able to generate the data for use by VCU,” said Dean Gaalaas, Chief Executive Officer of EdgeBio.  “We are pleased to couple EdgeBio’s unique strengths with Life Technologies’ enabling systems to achieve the goals of this study in a compressed time period and within budget.  We believe this illustrates a novel and efficient paradigm for accomplishing genomic research, with rapid and cost-effective data production providing the basic engine for biological discovery.”

“For the first time with this research, scientists will study epigenetics population-wide in a complex disease,” noted John L. Miller, President, Genetic Systems Division at Life Technologies.  “The development of rapid, economical sequencing technologies such as SOLiD make studies like this possible.  This study in particular has significant implications for the development of personalized genomic medicine, and we look forward to seeing the results of this research.”

About Life Technologies (www.lifetechnologies.com)
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE) is a global biotechnology tools company dedicated to improving the human condition. Our systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific exploration, driving to discoveries and developments that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st century forensics. Life Technologies had sales of $3.3 billion in 2009, employs approximately 9,000 people, has a presence in approximately 160 countries, and possesses a rapidly growing intellectual property estate of approximately 3,900 patents and exclusive licenses. Life Technologies was created by the combination of Invitrogen Corporation and Applied Biosystems Inc., and manufactures both in-vitro diagnostic products and research use only-labeled products. For more information on how we are making a difference, please visit our website: http://www.lifetechnologies.com. Follow Life Technologies on Twitter @LIFECorporation and on Facebook.

About EdgeBio (www.edgebio.com)
Edge BioSystems, Inc. (EdgeBio) is a private company devoted to simplifying and improving research technology for the global biotechnology community. For twenty years EdgeBio has created products and kits targeted to the DNA sequencing community.  We have recently expanded this effort to include sequencing services with a focus on generating next-generation sequencing data.  We have also assembled an experienced bioinformatics team capable of helping scientists interpret the complex data sets created by these next-generation platforms.  To learn more about us please visit our website at: http://www.edgebio.com.  Find us on Twitter @EdgeBio.

 

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Contacts

Life Technologies                               EdgeBio

Patty Zamora                                    Dean Gaalaas

760-476-7818                                240-912-8364

patty.zamora@lifetech.com                dgaalaas@edgebio.com