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September 19, 2003 | Customer News

Genome technology from Germany receives a boost in the USA

Männedorf, Switzerland and Hannover, Germany, 19 September 2003. GenePaint, a technology developed by Professor Gregor Eichele, Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Endocrinology, Hannover, Germany receives world-wide acknowledgment. It forms one of the core technologies  at a new, high profile, neuroscientific institute in Seattle/USA. The Allen Institute for Brain Research officially opened on 16 September and is set to revolutionize brain research. It received 100 million dollars in funding from The Paul Allen Foundation and was founded by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft and a donor of numerous medical research projects.


Molecular biology combined with  classical disciplines of neuro anatomy and physiology will unravel/reveal  completely new functional dimensions of the brain. The first ambitious project, "Allen's Brain Atlas", will involve a complete mapping of the activity of all genes in the adult mouse brain GenePaint, a procedure, that characterizes the activity pattern of thousands of genes within a short time is the key technology  that will enable this project to be realized.


Since sequencing of the human genes is complete, the "Brain Atlas  represents a logical continuation of the Human Genome Project.,where gene function is being determined. In order to understand gene functions it is necessary to study the gene expression patterns and/or activity in tissue and cells. In each case, the genes are activated and converted into proteins, which are also needed in certain organs. Professor Eichele pioneered the GenePaint technology in the late 90’s. He developed it in Hannover, Germany  and in parallel at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His work with the companies  Tecan, Leica and Orgarat led to the high throughput procedure for viewing & imaging gene activities in sections of tissue. The expression samples are digitized and made accessible in a data base.


"In the past year we have focused on chromosome 21 to show that genome wide mapping of gene activity with GenePaint is feasible", explains Professor Eichele. With the extensive similarity of the mouse and human genomes, he predicts that a complete molecular “Brain Atlas” of the mouse will provide extensive realizations of the functions of genes in the human  brain and concomitantly the discovery of new medicines for illnesses of this organ. "I am thrilled that our technology has been endorsed by laboratories and institutes in the USA. It is unfortunate that the market in germany is still relatively immature and that GenePaint currently remains untapped” commented Professor Eichele


In the context of "Allen's Brain Atlas," the activity for approximately 20,000 genes in the brain of the mouse will first be determined. The resulting patterns will be placed into a database, which will be accessible to scientists world-wide. A group of recognized researchers backs the project, including James Watson, who laid the foundation-stone for the genomic technology with the discovery of the DNA. According to expectations, “Allen's Brain Atlas” will advance and accelerate the research into brain illnesses (e.g. Alzheimer, schizophrenia and depressions).


Relevant Links:

[1] New Visions for Genomic Research

[2] Through the mouse to the down syndrome: Which genes are involved?

[3] "GenePaint"-Database

For additional information, contact:


Max-Planck-Institut für experimentelle Endokrinologie, Hannover

Karola Neubert
Tel.: +49 (0)511 5359 - 120
e-mail: karola.neubert@mpihan.mpg.de


Tecan Group Ltd.

Cornelia Kegele
Manager Marketing Communications and Branding
Tel.: +41 (0)44 922 81 11
Fax: +41 (0)44 922 82 81
e-mail: cornelia.kegele@tecan.com


Editorial contact:

Northbank Communications
Stefan Platz
Account Manager
Tel.: +49 (0)89 1895 7057
e-mail: s.platz@northbankcommunications.com