Most aspects of modern biology depend upon the tools of molecular biology. The ever-increasing number of whole genome sequences available to investigators has enhanced research in non-model organisms in ways hardly dreamed of only a decade ago. Many of these species still lack the tools commercially available for more commonly used species such as humans and mice. Consequently many ofthe users ofthe Center for Evolutionary &Theoretical Immunology's Molecular Biology Core (MBC) are dependent on DNA sequence and gene expression analysis to address their research questions. The objectives of the MBC is to provide its users with access to most of the tools and services of modern molecular biology. Central to the services provided are automated DNA sequencing and the bioinformatics support. The MBC has maintained traditional automated DNA (Sanger) sequencers for more than a decade and these remain among the most heavily used instruments in the Core. Next Generation (NextGen) sequencing support in the form of a Roche 454 Sequencer was added to the MBC services in 2010 and there is increasing use of this service. Acqusition of lllumina platform sequencing is planned with the purchase of a MiSeq instrument. With the rising demand for NextGen sequencing services by the Core users has come an increasing demand for Bioinformatics support. The MBC provides such support in three forms: First in the form of a bioinformatics specialist available to advise on research projects and provide information technology management;Second in the form of seiners and software for sequence data analysis and;Lastly in the form of archival storage for data. The MBC is also developing connections with the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences (LLS) to expand the public archiving of data for resource sharing. Many ofthe instruments in the MBC such as PCR machines, centrifuges, HPLC, and gel imaging are dual use for both support ofthe sequencing services while also being available for hands-on use by investigators for other projects. The MBC is among the most heavily used Cores within the Department of Biology and has been a formal Service Center within the College of Arts &Sciences and an aim ofthe Core is to develop financial independence for its Services.
High throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics have become critical tools in neariy all aspects of modern biology, from medicine to ecology. The expertise and expense needed to provide access to these tools is beyond most individual investigator laboratories. The Molecular Biology Core provides investigators with cost effective access and support for large scale DNA sequencing and sequence analysis as well as other tools of modern molecular biology.
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