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Orion Genomics And NCSU Awarded $1.59 Million NSF Grant To Determine Sequence Of Parasitic Worm

10/19/2005 5:12:24 PM

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Orion Genomics, a Second Code biotechnology company, and researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU), announced today that they have been awarded a two year, $1.59 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to determine the gene sequence of parasitic nematode worms that cause human disease and destruction of crops. Researchers believe that in determining the sequence of root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.), the most common and destructive of plant parasitic nematodes, they can aid in the control of human and plant infestations. Root knot nematodes account for an estimated $100 billion annual loss worldwide of crops including rice, potato, cereal grains, soybeans and others. Although root knot nematode attacks only plants, more than one billion people worldwide suffer from nematode infestation from related species.

"We believe the core research services offered by Orion's Genomics Analysis Business Unit, and the outstanding nematode biology and genomics expertise at NCSU makes a great team," said Nathan Lakey, President and CEO of Orion Genomics. "We expect that sequence information from this project will enable public and private researchers to develop new drugs to treat parasitic infections as well as novel compounds that aid in reducing agricultural losses."

The United States Department of Agriculture grant will fund the sequencing and annotation of the Northern root knot nematode (Meloidogyne hapla) genome. Sequence information that results from this project will immediately be made publicly available to scientists to enable continued research.

Nematodes are microscopic simple worms, 400 micrometers to 5 mm long. Their small size, resistant cuticle, and ability to adapt to severe and changing environments have made nematodes some of the most abundant animals on earth. Root knot nematodes were chosen for sequencing out of the estimated 100,000 to 100 million species of nematodes because they are the major pathogens of vegetables throughout the world, impacting both the quantity and quality of marketable yields.

"This marks our second collaboration with Orion Genomics, and we look forward to working with them again to elucidate the sequence of this critical genome," said Charles Opperman, Professor at NCSU and co-investigator on the grant. "Worldwide, Meloidogyne spp. are the most economically important of the plant-parasitic nematodes. In understanding its gene sequence, we can further our understanding of parasitic infestation and improve our ability to combat nematodes in plants and humans."

About Orion Genomics

Orion Genomics is a Second Code(TM) biotechnology company developing oncology diagnostic products and generating revenue in a hybrid products- services model. Orion's various proprietary technologies, trademarked as GeneThresher, MethylScope, and MethylScreen, detect both normal and abnormal epigenetic patterns of genes and genomes and are used in various agricultural biotechnology and molecular diagnostic applications. For more information, visit us at .

Orion Genomics

CONTACT: Nathan Lakey of Orion Genomics, LLC, +1-314-615-6977, Fax,+1-314-615-6975, , or Amy Beltran, Ph.D., of Atkins +Associates for Orion Genomics, +1-858-527-3489, Fax, +1-858-860-0270,

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