DNA Research at Southampton Granted £8million Shared Funding

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The University of Southampton is to be given access to shared funding of £8million to help further DNA research in synthetic biology.

A total of £469,000 has been awarded to the University through a new partnership between fellow Russell Group Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Oxford and Imperial College, along with The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich.

This allocated funding comes under an umbrella of £2.2million where work will also be contributed from Oxford, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol, all led by Professor Tom Brown from Southampton.

At Southampton at least, this funding, from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), will provide new equipment capable of improving quality and reducing costs of DNA synthesis. This investment also complements current research into nucleic acids at the Institute for Life Science (IfLS), based on Highfield Campus.

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Building 85 on Highfield Campus, home of the Institute for Life Science (IfLS).

Dr. Jonathan Watts, a lecturer in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of Southampton, said:

“The mass spectrometer we will buy with the funding will be one of the best in the UK. We will also be able to buy equipment to synthesise and purify pieces of DNA using both standard and novel approaches. One specific goal is to develop ways to reduce the scale of DNA synthesis, which will reduce the cost and environmental impact of making synthetic genes.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable announced this funding as a larger £40million investment for UK synthetic biology at the University of Manchester. He said:

“This new £40 million investment is in one of the most promising areas of modern science. It will see our world class researchers using bacteria to produce chemicals to make everyday products like toothbrushes and credit cards, which are currently made from unsustainable fossil fuels. Not only will this help improve people’s everyday lives in the future but it will support long-term economic growth.”

The UK Government has named Synthetic Biology as one of the ‘Eight Great Technologies’ in which the UK can be a world leader.

The full article regarding Vince Cable’s £40M UK-wide funding announcement can be found here.

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