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Galileo Genomics Unveils An 80,700 SNP Quebec Linkage Disequilibrium Map For Use In Genome-Wide Association Studies


10/19/2005 5:11:55 PM

MONTREAL, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Galileo Genomics announced today the completion of a panel of approximately 80,700 SNP markers covering 99.8% of the sequenced genome at a density optimized for the Quebec French Canadian Founder Population (QFP). This panel, known as the Quebec Linkage Disequilibrium Map (QLDM), is suitable for highly cost-effective genome-wide scans in heritable diseases to discover the common causative genes in these diseases. The QLDM is based upon the first completed genome wide evaluation of genetic sharing (Linkage Disequilibrium or LD) in any population. It is estimated that a similar LD Map for a general population would consist of over 500,000 SNP markers

The QLDM has variable densities of SNPs across the genome matching the pattern of variation of LD in the QFP. These densities are expected to be sufficient to detect the locations of major disease genes in genome-wide scans using samples from the QFP. All SNPs are informative (minor allele frequency of greater than 10%) and have been validated in either Quebec or other populations of European origin.

The QLDM is based on measurement of LD using a unique multiple marker algorithm and data from a study of 1,500 members of the QFP using 248,000 SNPs and a total of 372 million genotypes, genotypes generated in collaboration with Perlegen Sciences and using that company's advanced knowledge of the human genome. Galileo believes this is the largest such data set ever evaluated for this purpose.

Galileo is in the business of discovering GeneMaps, which are groups of the common disease genes that define the key biochemical pathways of common diseases. Galileo is applying the QLDM to 20 gene discovery programs in common diseases for which it has been collecting samples from the Quebec Founder Population for the past 3 years. Additional programs are under development and Galileo also plans to use the QLDM for pharmacogenomics studies of drug response.

"The QLDM represents a landmark in genetic research," said Dr. John Hooper, President and CEO of Galileo. "The Quebec LD Map will enable Galileo to perform genome-wide scans in a time-and cost-effective manner and will supply alliance partners with GeneMaps leading to multiple new and high quality drug targets across a wide range of therapeutic areas, thereby increasing the probability of success in developing safe and effective medicines that treat the root cause of disease. This is only possible because of the unique genetic heritage of the Quebec Founder Population and the willingness of its people to freely participate in genetic research which will make these new medicines a reality and of benefit to all people."

Dr. Majid Belouchi, VP and CSO of Galileo added, "We believe this is the first genome-wide LD map of a human population. The vast majority of the gene candidate regions that were discovered using 248,000 SNPs in Galileo's recent Crohn's disease study would also have been identified using the QLDM, but with major cost savings. This opens the long-awaited door to rapid and comprehensive disease gene discovery in common diseases, and thus to Personalized Medicine."

Details of the QLDM will be discussed, along with results from Galileo's Crohn's disease genome-wide scan, by Dr. John Raelson, Galileo's Senior Director, Genetics at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on Thursday, October 28 at 8:15am, Session 22.

About Galileo Genomics

Galileo Genomics (http://www.galileogenomics.com/) is a next-generation genomics company dedicated to the discovery of GeneMaps, genes, and biomarkers associated with the root cause of common diseases and drug response. GeneMaps are groups of disease genes that define the key biochemical pathways for common diseases. GeneMaps allow the acceleration of drug target identification, validation and downstream development. Additionally, Galileo's pharmacogenomics capability to stratify patient populations and evaluate drug response further accelerates the clinical development of drug candidates. Galileo's research relies on DNA sampling from the Quebec Founder Population, whose extensive genetic sharing and low genetic variability make this population ideal for gene discovery. In recognition of the contribution to Galileo's research made by the Quebec Founder Population, the company has committed to donate three per cent of its net profits to a trust fund for the benefit of Quebecers. Galileo Genomics is not affiliated in any way with Galileo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Santa Clara, California.

GALILEO GENOMICS INC.

CONTACT: Mariano Rodriguez, CA, CPA, Vice President andCFO, Galileo Genomics Inc. +1 514.270.3991 ext. 230,mrodriquez@galileogenomics.com; Bill Cheliak, Ph.D., Vice President,Business Development, Galileo Genomics Inc., +1 613.261.9813,bill.cheliak@galileogenomics.com



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