The Molecular Genomics Core (MGC) is a recent fusion of the DNA Core (formerly the Microchemical Core, founded in 1984), the Genomics Core founded in 1999 and the Microarray Core founded in 1998. This consolidation will ensure that there is no duplication in the acquisition of expensive state-of-the-art equipment and that the resource functions in an efficient and seamless manner to provide optimized service to investigators. The merger reduced redundancies in services, provided a single structure, which allowed the Core to adjust to changing demands over time and facilitated the interaction of shared expertise. MGC services are broadly divided into two main categories - sample preparation and analytical assays. Biospecimen processing is available for research and clinical samples from body fluids, fresh and archival tissue, and non-mammalian sources. The assays available in the MGC are based on the ability to identify and interrogate genetic (DNA profiling) and epigenetic (epigenetic profiling) variation. Additionally, expression profiling encompassing both genetic and epigenetic components is provided, including direct changes to DNA sequences effecting gene expression levels and DNA methylation and histone modifications playing roles in modified gene expression levels through changes in chromatin structure. The MGC has already provided services (annual total budget of >$6.5 million) to more than 175 USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCCC) members at different levels of throughput, including single base resolution of the entire genome and single base interrogation of DNA, RNA and chromatin.
MGC services are faster and cheaper than commercial operations and are sometimes even unobtainable from such sources. Furthermore, researchers can seek advice in the design of studies and instruction in the preparation of samples that accelerate the successful execution of experiments. The ready availability of these technologies enables NCCC members, whether basic, population science or clinical researchers, to rapidly bring the power of molecular biology to bear on attacking the fundamental problems of cancer, as well as translating these discoveries for use in the clinic.
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