Launch of Crucial Genetics, a state-of-the-art genetic profiling service

The University of Glasgow has linked up with venture capital company Fifty-Six Ltd. to launch Crucial Genetics, a state-of-the-art genetic profiling service. The company is based within customised laboratory facilities at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow and is equipped with the latest automated fluorescent DNA laser scanning machinery.

The demand for DNA testing and genetic screening has been increasing rapidly throughout the world within the past few years and Scotland is no exception. Professional bodies such as police forces, immigration authorities, solicitors, the Child Support Agency, insurance companies and health care professionals as well as the lay public are becoming more aware of the power of DNA technology.

Crucial Genetics will combine the University's wealth of experience in research into human population genetics with new technology that enables the unique identification of humans and animals using the rapid comparison of 16 genes with a resulting power of discrimination of over a billion to one.

Dr John Gow, senior lecturer of Clinical Neuroscience at the University's Institute of Neurological Sciences will manage the laboratory at the Southern General, on part-time secondment from the University. A new business manager, Adam Middleton, and Jacqueline Perry, a graduate Scientific Officer, have also joined the team.

Dr Gow commented: "I have been involved in exploring this DNA technology for several years now so it is rewarding to see it becoming so widely available to the public – either directly at our clinic at the Southern General or through GP's. Our service offers a fast, accurate and confidential DNA paternity testing service which, given the often sensitive nature of the enquiry, is paramount. We can also offer animal pedigree analysis as well as the analysis of genetically modified foodstuffs.

We are grateful for the expert help and advice of the University's Research & Enterprise Office as well as input from Scottish Enterprise which has enabled the new company to develop."

In addition to the DNA test to determine paternity, Crucial Genetics can carry out sibling or kinship DNA tests and can establish whether or not the clients are brother and sister, half-brother and sister or aunt/uncle, grandparents etc. Dr Gow explained: 'These tests are used to determine genetic links between people seeking their close relatives and we have had people openly crying tears of joy at the clinic when we have established their family ties.'

Brian McGeough, Project Manager within the University's Research and Enterprise Department, added:

"The creation of Crucial Genetics is a key step for the University in commercialising an interesting strand of academic research through collaboration and support from Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.

The new company aims to satisfy increasing market demand for accessible and professional DNA testing. It is our intention to position Crucial Genetics as the first choice provider of DNA testing, firstly in Scotland, then globally delivering fast, reliable and price competitive paternity testing and genetic profiling to a growing market."

Judith Hodgson ([email protected]),


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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