Genomatix gets patent for comparative genomics method

By Sam Collins
12:00 AM

Genomatix Software, a company that analyzes genomic data generated by high throughput technologies, has been issued a patent for "Identification and assignment of functionally corresponding regulatory sequences for orthologous loci in eukaryotic genomes" by the European Patent Office.

The patent relates to a sophisticated method for identification of networks of functionally related regulatory DNA sequences in different eukaryotic species.

With today's high throughput sequencing technology, data from an increasing number of various organisms has become available.

However, the genomic sequence does not reveal scientific insight in the functional organization of the genome.

To do this, the genome needs to be annotated with regard to location of genes, promoters, genomic repeats and other factors.

Annotation of regulatory sequences like promoters and enhancers is a special challenge that previously has not been addressed satisfactorily.

The patent describes a method using a defined transcriptional start side from a well annotated genome as an anchor to identify corresponding regulatory regions in the orthologuous areas of less defined species.

Genomatix said the results were proven to be of extremely high quality. Genomatix has applied this method in its genomic database ElDorado for several years and numerous such predicted promoters have been verified experimentally in the meantime.

Dr Andreas Klingenhoff, Genomatix's head of Genomics and Annotation and the inventor of the approach said, "We developed the method over several years, running many projects aimed to identify the evolutionary conserved regulatory elements shared between different eucaryots."

"It was essential in understanding regulatory networks, mechanisms and pathways, including disease mechanisms in humans," Klingenhoff said. "With increasing insight into the extreme complexity of the transcriptome, the method becomes more and more valuable. We continuously work on further improvements and apply it to an increasing number of species, especially in light of our efforts in next generation sequencing data analysis."

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